Category Archives: Cookies

Cookies by Julias: Valentine Shortbread Cookies

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2 Julias + 1 day off of  school = Tons of cookie fun

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These 2 cute girls wanted to bake cookies on their day off of school, and since one of them is allergic to eggs, they decided to make shortbread cookies. But traditional rectangles were way too boring, so they went with hearts. And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

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And once the chocolate melting and dipping started, their creative juices really got flowing!

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If you are looking for more traditional shortbread cookies, you can always go with plain-old-boring-rectangles:

shortbread-1

 

RECIPE:

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Valentine Shortbread Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
4 ½ cups flour
Dark chocolate and/or colored candy melts

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make sure that butter is very soft, but not melted. Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour, mixing well.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a pastry board or mat. Gently press or roll dough until dough is about 1/3” thick (dough will be softer than a normal cut-out cookie dough). Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes and use a thin metal spatula to transfer hearts to ungreased cookie sheets, leaving a small space between cookies.

Bake at 325°F for  about 20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt about 1 cup chopped chocolate in microwave by cooking in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating, until completely melted. Dip cookies as desired. To drizzle chocolate, place chocolate or candy melts in a Ziploc bag and cook for 30 seconds in microwave. Squish bag and repeat as needed until melted. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke a small hole in one corner of the bag and drizzle melted chocolate over cookies.

Place cookies on parchment paper or wax paper to harden. You can chill them in the refrigerator, if desired, to speed up the setting of the chocolate. Higher quality dark chocolate will take longer to harden than the candy melts.

Makes 2 ½ – 3  dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

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8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Recap

Here is a quick recap of our yearly baking madness! Scroll to the end for links to even more cookie deliciousness.

A very Merry Christmas to family and friends far and near!

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

DAY ONE: Snow Capped Christmas Trees

 Chocolate Toffee Cookies

DAY TWO: Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

Cinnamon Pecans 2

DAY THREE: Cinnamon Pecans

 Molasses Crinkles

DAY FOUR: Molasses Crinkles

 Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY FIVE: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

 Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

DAY SIX: Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

 Nutella Fudge

DAY SEVEN: Nutella Fudge

 Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY EIGHT: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

 Almond Toffee Triangles 2

DAY NINE: Almond Toffee Triangles

 Cream Cheese Mints 
DAY TEN: Cream Cheese Mints

 Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

DAY ELEVEN: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies  

 Homemade Caramels

DAY TWELVE: Homemade Caramels

 

#LIGHTtheWORLD

 

More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

DAY 11: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Today’s cookie is a bow to the Canadian heritage here in our home.

Tiny maple cookies filled with a maple cream cheese frosting. You could always make them bigger, but I love these cute little bite-sized cookies.

My big mistake with these cookies, however, was in thinking that my cookie cutter was symmetrical. Turns out it is not quite the same on both sides! (As you can see if you look closely at the top of the cookies.) This didn’t bother my kids at all. They all disappeared before any made it onto cookie trays.

Lesson for next time: if your cookie cutter is not perfectly symmetrical, before baking, flip half of your cookies over. Then you can put the back-sides of two different cookies together and your edges will line up.

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies 2

 

RECIPE:

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies
—–
(adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2005):

Maple Cookies:
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp maple extract

Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
½ tsp maple extract
¼ tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and maple extract until combined.

Add flour gradually and mix until just blended. Divide dough into two balls and flatten each ball into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap (or place in a Ziploc bag) and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼”. Use small maple leaf cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies on prepared sheets.

Note: If your cookie-cutter is not perfectly symmetrical,  turn half of your cookies upside down before baking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes (exact time will depend on size and thickness of cookies). Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Filling:
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, maple syrup, maple extract and salt until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.

Spread the backside of cooled cookie with about ½ Tbs filling.  Top with another cookie. (If cookies are not symmetrical, be sure to pair cookies with their inverted match.)

 

Makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies (using a 2” cookie cutter)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Almond Toffee Triangles

Almond Toffee Triangles

DAY 9: Almond Toffee Triangles

A shortbread crust, topped with a sliced almond caramel mixture and then baked to perfection.

Easy peasy!

Almond Toffee Triangles 2

 

RECIPE:

Almond Toffee Triangles

Almond Toffee Triangles

Crust:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt

Topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sliced almonds

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of a 15×10” pan.

Use a mixer to cream butter and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Slowly beat in flour and salt. Press evenly into greased pan.

Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Topping:
While crust is cooking, prepare topping. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almonds. Pour topping over HOT crust; spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes, or until topping is set. Cool completely. Cut into 2 ½ inch squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.

Makes 48 triangles

 

**To prepare in a 17×13” pan, prepare 1 ½ times the recipe.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY 8: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Here is a fun Christmas treat to make with kids that is easier than your traditional frosted sugar cookies. All you need is a good sugar cookie recipe, a package of Jolly Rancher hard candies and two different sized cookie cutters.

To begin, you will need to line your baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper so that the candy centers don’t stick.

Prepare your dough and cut out large Christmas shapes (my cookie cutters were about 3” tall). I usually like to make nice thick sugar cookies, but these need to be about 1/8” thick, or the center “window” will be too thin compared to the cookie.

Place cookies on baking sheet before cutting out the smaller design in the center of each cookie. I used the inserts for linzer cookies to cut the center shapes. Cutting out the smaller shape after the cookie is on the baking sheet helps the cookie dough retain its shape. It is harder to move cookie dough with the center cut out.

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy  in the center of each cut out. (Cut candy in half with a sharp knife)  If your openings are large enough to fit the whole Jolly Rancher, then use them whole. You can also crush the candies first, but I found that there are fewer bubbles in your windows if you leave the candies whole. And it is so much easier than crushing hard candy!

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies 3

While the cookies bake, the candies will melt and fill in the centers.

After baking, let the cookies completely cool and the candy window centers harden before removing from baking sheet.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

You could also make these using a Gingerbread Cookie Dough.

RECIPE:

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.  Mix in baking soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (Start with 7 cups and add more if needed).

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet).

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the candy down inside the opening.

Bake at 375°F for 8 -10 minutes, or until candies have melted; cookies should not be browned on the edges.  They should look white when done. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Makes about 6 dozen (using a 3” cookie cutter)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Butter Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

DAY 6: Butter Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies

These cookies look similar to Pecan Sandies, but are soft and chewy and have warm fall spices baked into the cookies. They do not actually contain pumpkin, just “pumpkin spice”. This recipe comes from Averie Cooks.

If I am totally honest, I prefer the plain Pecan Sandies and their crumbly shortbread texture, but some of my family prefers this version.

RECIPE:

Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Spice Cookies
—————–(from Averie Cooks)

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 Tbs cream or milk
2 cups flour
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chopped raw pecans
About ½ cup pecans halves

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat until well mixed. Mix in the cream.

Stir together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Add to mixing bowl and beat on low speed until just combined. Mix in chopped pecans.

Use a medium cookie scoop or tablespoons to drop rounded dough balls onto baking sheets. If desired, press a pecan half into the top of each dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough balls for at least 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake cookies for about 8 minutes, until edges just begin to set; don’t overbake. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY 5: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Balls of peanut butter cookie dough baked in a mini muffin pan and then squished by a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Definitely a kid favorite! Both to make and to eat.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 2

RECIPE:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 pkg (12 oz) Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped **

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a mini muffin pan (or spray with non-stick baking spray).

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to mixing bowl and beat until well mixed.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place in greased muffin pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until dough puffs and just barely begins to brown on the bottom.

Remove pan from the oven and immediately press a Peanut Butter Cup into the center of each cookie, pressing down until top of peanut butter cup is level with the top of the cookie. Cool completely in the pan and then remove to a wire rack. To remove cookies, hold the cookie by the top edge and twist gently.

Makes about 32 cookies.

**NOTE: A 12 oz package of peanut butter cups usually has 40 candy pieces. The recipe makes about 32 cookies, so you may have a few extra.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chewy Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles

DAY 4: Chewy Molasses Crinkles

These are a soft and chewy molasses cookie, similar in taste to gingerbread, but without the work of rolling and cutting dough.

I love the way the house smells while these are baking! Better than a scented candle any day.

RECIPE:

Molasses Crinkles

Chewy Molasses Crinkles

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
¼ cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Sugar: ½ cup sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Add egg and egg yolk and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the molasses and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until mixed.

Cover and chill dough for one hour. In a small bowl, stir together the ½ cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll the chilled dough into 1” balls and then roll the balls in the Cinnamon Sugar mixture. Place dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9–10 minutes.  Do not overbake, or they will no longer be chewy. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes 3 dozen

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other treats): Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

Cinnamon Pecans 2

DAY 3: Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

A simple recipe that makes great neighbor gifts. Fill a mason jar or clear treat bag and add a Christmas message for an easy gift that everyone loves!

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Pecans 2

Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups raw pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk egg white and vanilla in a large bowl until slightly frothy. Add pecans and stir until nuts are well coated.

Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl until well mixed. Gradually stir into mixing bowl with the nuts, stirring constantly until pecans are coated evenly.

Spread onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula and return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove parchment paper (with the nuts still on it) and place onto a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

DAY 2: Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

An easy to make rich dark chocolate drop cookie made with toffee chips and nuts. Slightly crispy outside, and soft gooey middles. A great cookie for chocoholics!

Just be sure to use silicone mats or parchment paper on your baking sheets, or the toffee pieces will stick to your pans.

RECIPE:

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

16 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 2 ½ cups bittersweet chips)
½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts or toasted almonds
1 ½ cups (8 oz bag) toffee chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Place chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat (or a double boiler) until melted and smooth, stirring often. Cool completely to room temperature.

Combine sugars, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the cooled chocolate.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Add to mixing bowl and beat until just combined. Mix in nuts and toffee chips. Let dough sit, at room temperature, for 15 minutes before scooping and baking.

Drop  tablespoon-sized scoops of batter onto the lined baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes; do not overbake. Leave cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then use a thin metal spatula to remove them to a cooling rack.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

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