While I realize that late February doesn't exactly scream maple to most people, I just needed to share these cookies. They are a dream. Can I share a secret with you all real quick? I used to hate maple. I'm not really sure why, but I loved it as a kid and then I stopped loving it. I though that it smelled disgusting and the thought of putting it on anything made me queasy. And I wasn't even pregnant.However, one day I was watching an awful reality show on VH1 with models as the contestants. The funny thing about it was that if they answered the trivia questions wrong, they had to eat something that they'd never dream of eating. Ever. One of the "punishment" foods was pancakes with maple syrup.
The model about had a heart attack at the prospect of having to eat all those carbs and sugar and butter, oh my! That was the first time in years where I could stomach the thought of maple syrup. I have no idea how that awful show brought me back to the maple love, but I'm thankful I was watching it that morning! These cookies have just a hint of maple in the cookie and the frosting, which plays well with the vanilla flavor, especially from the white vanilla chips. These cookies are a bit on the sweet side with that frosting, but they're definitely worth it! Soft, chewy, and a great little dessert.
Although I'm sure models would say otherwise! Vanilla Maple Cookies RecipePrint this recipeFor the cookies:
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple flavoring/extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups white baking chipsFor the frosting: 1/4 cup butter, softened4 cups powdered sugar1 teaspoons maple flavoring/extract4-6 tablespoons milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the shortening, butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla, maple flavoring, and baking soda. Once incorporated, add in the flour until just combined. Fold in the baking chips.
Roll into one-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until they just start to turn brown and remove from the oven. Let them sit on the baking sheet for two minutes and then remove to a flat surface to cool.
While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the maple flavoring and then the milk a little bit at a time until it's a good consistency for spreading. Be careful you don't add too much or it won't harden. Mix until smooth and spread on top of the cooled cookies. Let dry for a few hours to harden the frosting before packaging in an air-tight container or plastic bag with wax paper in between the layers of cookies. Source: Barely adapted from Taste of Home
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Happy Valentine's Day (almost)! Are you ready? If not, may I suggest these adorable sugar cookies? I've never really decorated sugar cookies up until a couple of years ago, and I've definitely gotten better with practice. Lots and lots of practice! I even think they're pretty fun now, which completely surprises me.
These are great for teachers, kids, and the people you love...or like...or even just tolerate. Even better is that they taste good! Let's look at how to do this.
You'll need a batch of royal icing, split into the colors you want. You'll want to keep some of it in bags and flood the rest and place it in squeeze bottles. See how to do that here
. I prefer to use a number 3 tip to outline the cookies and a number 2 tip to draw any details on after they dry.
You'll also need cookies. I did hearts and then scalloped circles. When the scalloped circles came out of the oven, I lightly pressed the heart cutter into the circles so I could outline it easier (instead of drawing it by hand).
Outline the cookies using the icing from the bags and let them rest for about 20 minutes or so.
Next you want to flood the cookie with icing from the squeeze bottle.
Then move it to the sides using a toothpick. Once the cookie is flooded, you can add details to it right away using the flooded icing (like polka dots or hearts) or let it sit for several hours and pipe details on top later.
To make the polka dots, right after you flood the cookie drop small amounts of another color icing on top using the squeeze bottles. It would have been helpful if I had darker colors...
To make hearts, place a toothpick at the top (or side of) of each polka dot and drag it through the dot and subsequent dots without picking up the toothpick. It will make a heart. Let these cookies dry overnight before packaging.
To pipe details on top of the cookies, wait until they dry for at least a few hours and then pipe details on top. Let them dry overnight before packaging.Sugar Cookie Recipe
Makes about 40 cookiesPrint this recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add in the egg and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and mix until incorporated. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Place the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured counter. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a greased cookie sheet. It is helpful to freeze the cookies for 8-10 minutes before baking as they will hold their shape better. Bake for 8-10 minutes; the cookies will not brown. Remove from the pan and let cool completely before decorating. Royal Icing Recipe
4 tablespoons meringue powder
Scant 1/2 cup water
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2-1 tablespoon corn syrup
Few drops of clear extract (I use clear vanilla)
Place the meringue powder and water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat it until it's combined and foamy. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Add in the corn syrup and extract and beat on high until the icing is thick and glossy. It should have stiff peaks. Divide the icing into bowls to tint, and make sure to keep it covered.
Cookies adapted from Annie's Eats
Icing recipe from Bake at 350
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I get a lot of questions about baking without gluten. Thankfully I'm not adversely effected by gluten, so I don't have to worry about developing gluten-free recipes. However, that means that I can't help some potential bakery clients. So...when I come across a naturally gluten-free recipe, I cheer. And do a little happy dance. It's a little one but it's there nonetheless.
So listen to this ingredient list. Peanut butter. Oats. M&Ms. Chocolate Chips. Raisins (wait--don't leave yet), and then the normal eggs, sugar, leavener, etc. Oh...and the raisins are totally optional. I really like them, but I know that's a deal breaker for some, and you really shouldn't break up with these cookies! The other good thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot of cookies! It's great to bring to a party (playoff or Superbowl party anyone??) and people will be begging you for the recipe. Trust me.
Speaking of playoffs...I know that I can't complain (and that you don't feel sorry for me) but I'm going to the Broncos-Ravens playoff game on Saturday. Super excited to see the Broncos crush the Ravens again but you guys...the high on Saturday in Denver is 18 degrees. As in 14 degrees below freezing. And that's the high when the sun is up and shining. We only see the sun for the first quarter and then it peaces out to shine on warmer places. Jerk. So basically I'm going to freeze my everything off because sitting outside for 4 hours when the high is 18 degrees is miserable. Any tips on staying warm?? I need every tip you have! Every single one. Please...my toes beg you!
Monster Cookies RecipeMakes about 4 dozenPrint this recipe1/2 cup butter, softened12 ounces creamy peanut butter1 cup sugar1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed3 eggs2 teaspoons baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats1 cup M&Ms1 cup chocolate chips1/2 cup raisins (optional)Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until incorporated. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. When fully incorporated, add the oats.
Then mix in the M&Ms, chocolate chips, and raisins. Drop by tablespoons (or use a cookie scoop) about two inches apart from each other on the sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes (don't overbake!) and let sit on the sheet for 3 minutes before removing to a flat surface to cool. Store in zippered bags or a sealed container. Barely adapted from Food Network and Paula Deen
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Merry Christmas! These cookies are quintessential holiday cookies, and no Christmas would be complete without them. At least in my house. Every year when I plan my holiday baking, these always make the list. I've been making them since I was a kid, and I fondly remember eating a lot of almond-flavored green dough and red hots. And I still do the same thing as an adult.
You have to have a cookie press to make these, but you can get one for pretty cheap. I seem to buy a new one every couple of years because they don't last too long. This year I got mine at a craft store, and it's the Wilton brand. It works great so far. I've also had problems finding red hot candies the last few years, but I've seen boxes of them at Walmart and Walgreens. Do you have any must-make cookies this time of year? Or am I the only one who has these traditions?
Christmas Tree CookiesPrint this recipe
1 cup shortening3/4 cup sugar1 egg1 teaspoon almond extract1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt2 1/4 cups all purpose flourGreen food color
ingRed hot candiesPreheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the almond extract, baking powder, and salt, and mix until incorporated. Stir in the flour until combined. Stir in the food coloring until it's as dark as you like. Stuff portions of the dough into the cookie press and use according to the manufacturer's instructions. Press a red hot or two into the pressed dough. Bake for 10 minutes or until set. Let cool on a flat surface.
I'm sorry about the third mint dessert recipe in a row. And if you hate mint, I'm really sorry. However, if you like thin mints, these are the cookie for you. But if you don't like to use prepackaged mixes, these aren't the cookies for you. Because they're made using a cake mix and topped with a thin mint or grasshopper cookie. And in spite of all that, they are awesomely delicious. And easy. Super easy. Since Christmas is just a few days away, easy is where we need to be right now...or at least where I need to be right now. Six ingredients. Four days till Christmas. Make these. Mint Chocolate CookiesMakes about 40 cookiesPrint this recipe1 package Devil's food cake mix1/2 cup shortening2 eggs1 tablespoon waterPowdered sugar40 thin mints/grasshopper cookiesPreheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, shortening, eggs, and water until fully combined. Form the dough into one inch balls and roll in powdered sugar.
Place them on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Once you pull them out of the oven, immediately put a
thin mint on each cookie. Let cool for one minute on the sheet and then remove to a flat surface to cool. Source: Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies & Candies 2010
Are you guys cookied out yet? I know I am! And I still have more to bake. I discovered these bad boys a couple of years ago, and they have been a huge hit. Think Russian teacake cookies with pecans instead of walnuts. And then instead of them being rolled in powdered sugar, they're dipped in white candy melts and topped with crushed candy canes. They're pretty and delicious....and perfect for Christmas! Since I've made a few dozen (or thousand) cookies this year, I'm going to share some of my tips, which don't completely apply to these cookies. But in general, these tips work best for me. Of course, please experiment to find what works best for you. 1. I soften my sticks of butter in the microwave for 7 seconds. It's enough so the butter can break up in the mixer easier. 2. I always use my stand mixer for cookies, and I always use the paddle attachment. 3. You know when cookie recipes say to sift the dry ingredients together? I never ever do this. Instead, I mix the baking soda, salt, etc. in after I mix in the eggs. That way there's enough liquid for the small dry ingredients to get mixed in well before I add the flour. 4. I don't fold in the chocolate chips, nuts, etc. by hand. I mix them in with my mixer just until they're distributed throughout the dough. 5. I use airbake cookie sheets so I never use parchment paper or grease the baking sheets. I love these cookie sheets, and I use them for all of my cookies (except macaroons). This means that when I write cookie recipes down, I'm always at a loss on what to say for greasing the sheets. 6. I always bake my cookies for the least amount of time indicated and let them cool on the sheets for at least one minute. Underbaked cookies=softness and awesomeness. Overbaked cookies=crunchiness and yukiness. 7. I never let my cookies cool on wire racks because I underbake them and I don't want them to fall through the rack. Plus, I don't like having indentations on the underside of the cookie. I let them cool completely flat on the counter or on foil on the counter. 8. I store my cookies in zipper bags or airtight containers.What do you do with your cookies?
Candy Cane Snowballs Recipe
Makes about 4 dozen cookiesPrint this recipe
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces white candy coating, melted
1/3-1/2 cup crushed candy canes
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Stir in the pecans.
If you feel it's too messy/hard to work with, chill the dough. Roll into one inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart from each other. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bottoms are light brown. Remove to a flat surface and let cool completely.
Follow the directions on the package to melt the candy coating. In a separate bowl, place the crushed candy canes. Dunk the top of the cookies into the candy coating (allow the excess to drip off) and then into the candy canes. Let stand until set.
Source: Taste of Home
First of all, I'd like to say that I'm praying for all those affected by the shooting. Unfortunately I have been there, and I know what those people in Connecticut are going through. I was in a school shooting
, and it's something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I can only hope (probably in vain) that those children are too young to remember it or for it to have long-lasting effects. Because it 100% has changed my life. Even 13.5 years later, it affects my life on a regular basis. One of these effects is that I cannot watch/read the coverage. It takes me back to the days of sadness, sorrow, confusion, fear, and the unrelenting media coverage. Of the few details I do know, I know that it was horrific. The fact that it was an adult killing innocent young children is unspeakable. So, the most I can handle right now is praying for those people and staying away from the television. By the way, in the weeks, months, and years after the shooting, the support and love from the community, nation, and world was unbelievable. I will never forget all the love and support that we felt.
In other news of the week from you know where, I was laid off after six and a half years. So I'm left asking the question, what do I want to be when I grow up? I never thought I'd have to answer that question again after I decided in college, but I'm a decade out of college and I find myself asking it again. The real question is do I find another job in the same field or do I pursue my love of cooking and baking? Decisions, decisions.
In the midst of all these changes and dramatic events, these cookies make me happy. I think they're calm and reassuring and fun. If you're looking for Christmas gifts to give to loved ones, I highly suggest making a batch of these. Trust me, your friends and family will be blown away by them. I made them using this recipe and tutorial
. In my tutorial, I don't cover how to pipe on top of the flooded icing. So...after you flood the icing, let them dry for 3-4 hours. Then you can pipe the design on top and let them dry overnight. When I made these, I outlined them in the morning and then flooded them. I piped the design on top after dinner and packaged them up the next morning. You certainly can spread out the timeline more, but I was on a deadline. In the wake of sorrow, beauty is much appreciated. Inspired by Annie's Eats
I've made a lot of Christmas cookies this year so far. A. Lot. These, by far, are my new favorite. And this is coming from the girl who doesn't like cherries. Essentially you have a fudgy, brownie-like cookie that's wrapped around a maraschino cherry. It's delicious. This is my go-to recipe for chocolate cookies (for now). I made a triple batch of dough and filled some with caramel, some with the cherries, and some with a Hershey's kiss. I loved these the best. Since I had to distinguish which cookie was which, I sprinkled red sugar on top of the dough balls before I put them in the oven. I think it adds a fun, festive touch, but it's definitely optional. I highly recommend you make these for Christmas. They will be devoured. Fudgy Cherry Bites RecipeMakes about 24Print this recipe
5 tablespoons butter, melted
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour1 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries, drained and patted dryPreheat your oven to 350 degrees. In your mixing bowl, beat together the melted butter, cocoa, and sugars until it resembles coarse sand (you can use an electric mixer or do this by hand). Add in the sour cream
and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Mix in the flour. Take about one tablespoon of dough and wrap it around the cherries. Place the balls on greased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit on the pan for two minutes before removing to a flat surface to cool. Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
Cinnamon. Roll. Cookies. Yes, that's right. You're welcome. These cookies are like crack...or how I'd expect crack to be since I've never done crack. Do people "do" crack? Annnnyyyyyway....I can eat a handful of these bad boys easy. They're soft, cinnamon-y, and the frosting is awesome. If you're a sucker for cinnamon rolls, you will overindulge in these. I promise.
These are a slice and bake cookie, which can be good and bad. Good because you can stock them in your fridge for when the craving hits. Bad because they take a little longer to make. But they're not too hard. You make the dough; roll it out; spread the filling; roll it up; chill the dough; and then slice, bake, frost and pop. Pop into your mouth that is. Just try to resist!
Cinnamon Roll Cookies RecipeMakes about 2 dozenPrint this recipe
For the dough: 1/2 cup powdered sugar3/4 cup butter, softened1/2 teaspoon salt1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla1 1/2 cups all purpose flourFor the filling: 1 egg white1 tablespoon water1/4 cup sugar1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamonFor the frosting: 1/4 cup powdered sugar
, sifted1 tablespoon heavy cream1/4 teaspoon vanilla1/4 teaspoon cinnamonMake the dough by creaming the butter and powdered sugar together. Mix in the salt and vanilla until combined
. Stir in the flour until incorporated. Chill for 10-15 minutes.
Roll the dough into a 9x12 rectangle. Make the filling by mixing the egg white and water until foamy.
Spread over the dough. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the dough. Roll the dough up from the long end like a cinnamon roll. Seal the edges. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to a flat surface or a cookie rack to cool. To make the frosting,
combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add the vanilla and cream and mix until smooth. Transfer to a ziptop or piping bag and snip the end off of it. Pipe the frosting into a spiral and let harden before stacking. Source: Recipe Girl
So gingersnaps don't have to snap, right? Because these certainly don't. Since I'm not a fan of crispy and crunchy cookies, I went on a search years ago to find a great soft gingersnap recipe. These scream holiday cookie, have great flavor, and are soft and chewy. They're quite perfect in my opinion. Usually when a recipe calls for you to chill the dough, I don't. What can I say...I'm impatient. However, I actually follow the instructions on these ones. Since you roll the dough balls in sugar, they really do need to be cold. So plan on adding in a couple of chilling hours for these. Trust me...they're worth the wait! Soft Gingersnaps RecipeMakes about 36Print this recipe1 cup brown sugar, packed3/4 cup butter, melted1 egg1/4 cup molasses1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground cloves2 1/4 cup all purpose flour1/2 cup sugar for rolling the dough inIn a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and melted butter together until combined. Add in the egg and molasses. Mix in the ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Add in the flour and mix on low until incorporated. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set and let cool on the cookie sheet for one minute. Transfer to a flat surface to cool completely. Source: Taste of Home