Category: Cookies


So after being informed by my BFF that the print feature I added awhile back actually prints the entire blog post instead of only the recipe like I wanted it to, I have (with a little help from a more experienced blogger) figured out how to make only the recipe in each post printable. Yay! So from now on you will be able to print only the best part of each post: the recipe! And when I get time here and there I will go back and add the feature to all of my other posts (which number 72 as of today, so it may take me a little while to get it done). Thank you all for sticking with me thus far! ❤

My goodness gracious; it’s cold! That’s true for just about everywhere in America right now, but it goes double for the Northern Plains where I’m at. Everywhere I go there’s talk of wishing for summer and lamenting how crazy cold it is. I can understand why they feel that way; not everyone dislikes summer like I do. For those of you who share the summer loving sentiment I have a wonderful recipe that will be like sunshine you can pull out of your oven! And for those of you that share my winter loving tendencies, these Lemonies will be a wonderful treat to indulge in while cuddled up in a blanket watching the season go by out your window 🙂

These bars are so easy and incredibly basic. In fact, it’s very likely that the only thing you will need to buy is the lemon. Here’s what you’ll need:

IMG_20141219_124748279_HDRWhile your oven is preheating, the first thing you’ll want to do is brush a 13×9 pan liberally with butter. You don’t have to flour the pan if you don’t want to, but you do definitely need to butter it. Once done, put the 2 sticks of butter in a small sauce pan over very low heat. Now zest your lemon. You can easily do that with a regular box grater. The little rasp-like side that is useless for almost everything on your box grater? That’s for zesting citrus! If you don’t have a box grater with a rasp side, use the smallest holes you can on a regular grater (most have 2 sizes these days). If you only have the one “regular” size option on your grater, you can use that and mince the zest with a knife like you would garlic. Whichever you use, make sure you only grate the yellow part and not the bitter white pith beneath. Set the zest aside and cut the lemon in half around the equator (the middle, not end to end) and squeeze the juice out of it over a strainer set over a bowl to catch the seeds. Set the juice aside. Keep an eye on your butter while you’re doing this so that it doesn’t burn. Once it’s melted, take it off the heat and continue with your lemon.

It’s time to start combining everything. First your dry…

IMG_20141219_130110670

Then your wet ingredients + half of the lemon zest (but not the butter yet), making sure to measure out only enough lemon juice to satisfy the recipe- some of the rest will be for the glaze or frosting you’ll need. I’ll get to that later.

IMG_20141219_130335109

Once you have that done, pour the butter into the flour mixture and mix it in. The batter will be very stiff and you don’t have to get it completely mixed.

IMG_20141219_130456607_HDR

 

IMG_20141219_130552553_HDR

Once you’re at this stage add the rest of the ingredients (giving them a whisking with a fork first!) and mix thoroughly. Make sure it’s completely mixed and smooth, but don’t try to whip the ingredients like a cake. These are the lemon equivalent of dense, chewy brownies so the batter is going to be very heavy.

IMG_20141219_130703967_HDR

IMG_20141219_130926090

These now go in the oven until the bottom and edges are beginning to brown and the center is set. You should be able to insert a toothpick in the center and have it come out clean when they are done.

IMG_20141219_135558660

You have 2 choices now: cover these in a delightful lemon glaze or spread on a wonderfully smooth lemon cream cheese frosting. I’ll include the recipe for both below. But you have to cover these with something; they won’t be very good and they will dry out terribly if you don’t. Despite being similar in texture, these are very different from brownies- you can’t just leave them plain.

Alas; I don’t have a money shot for these! They got taken on vacation with us and I never did get a picture. I do apologize for that! You’ll just have to give these amazing bars a try for yourself to see the finished product 😉

 

The Recipe:

1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 C Sugar (White, granulated)

1/2 t Salt

1 C (2 sticks) Butter, melted and cooled slightly

3 Eggs

1 t Vanilla

2 T Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed- NOT from a bottle

1 t Lemon Zest

 

The Method:

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

*Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch pan. Flouring the pan as well is optional.

*In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and let sit.

*Zest the lemon as fine as possible and set aside.

*Cut the lemon in half short-ways (around the equator) and squeeze well to get as much juice as possible. Set the juice aside.

*In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

*In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients; including 1 teaspoon (or roughly half) of the lemon zest.

*Mix the melted butter into the dry ingredients until mostly combined.

*Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

*Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until set.

*Remove from the oven and cool completely before glazing or frosting.

 

The Lemon Glaze- The Recipe:

1 C Powdered (Icing or Confectioner’s) Sugar

2 T Milk

1 T Lemon Juice

1 t Lemon Zest (or whatever is leftover from the bars)

The Method:

*In a bowl, add the wet ingredients to the powdered sugar and stir until completely smooth.

*Spread over completely cooled bars.

 

The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting- The Recipe:

8 oz Cream Cheese, softened to room temp (any fat content you please)
1/2 C Butter, softened to room temp
1/2 Lb (1 C) Powdered Sugar (or more to suit your taste and texture preferences. More sugar=stiffer frosting)
1 T Lemon Juice (you should have some lemon juice leftover from the bars)
1 t Lemon Zest (or whatever is leftover from the bars)
The Method:
*In a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy & lightened.
*Add lemon juice & zest and mix well.
*Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix very well.
*Spread over the top of the completely cooled bars.

I’ve had some requests for a “print recipe” feature, so I looked around and found one of those! You can now find a new button on each post. It’s labeled “print and PDF” and it can be found at the very bottom of each post along with the sharing buttons. You’re welcome and thanks for your continued support! ❤

I have a recipe up my sleeve that I wanted to share this week, but due to technical difficulties I couldn’t get it posted. I hope to have it up next week. In the meantime, I had something exciting happen last week: I was contacted by Endless Simmer to be featured in their Top 10 Gingersnap Recipes list! I consider myself (rightly) a small time food blogger. I’m not one of the big girls or boys who have hundreds or thousands of followers and their own cookbooks in the works. I can’t say it wouldn’t be fun sometimes to be that. But that’s not my goal. I like what I do and I like my blog. I think about the stress and the time taken away from my family to be a big blogger like that and I say, most assuredly, “I’ll pass, thanks.” So I was amazed that someone actually wanted to feature my post along with so many other wonderful posts from fantastic bloggers. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! So here you go; my first guest appearance 🙂

Top 10 gingersnap Recipe Countdown:

http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2014/10/08/gingersnaps-gone-wild-top-ten-gingersnap-recipes/

Now, this is not just any old cookie recipe. No; this recipe is my last bastion of recipe secretiveness. In celebration of more than a month of our new life as well as the start of a promising new school year, I have decided to give you all the last recipe that I’ve been keeping locked up. Before now, the only person I’ve given this recipe to was my BFF- and I made her swear that she would NEVER give the recipe to anyone. I even went so far as to ask her to immediately delete the email that contained it. So, my dear BFF, you are hereby set free from your sworn secrecy. If you would like to share the recipe, be my guest. If you don’t, I understand 😉 So let’s get down to it and make some Oatmeal Cookies!!

I have never been a huge fan of oatmeal cookies. I like them ok but they’ve never been my favorite. My husband, on the other hand, really likes them and asked me to make him some awesome oatmeal cookies. So I started researching recipes and came up with this one. It’s not a cakey cookie but it is a soft cookie so just that starts it off right. I don’t like crunchy cookies unless they’re Oreos or the like (which I can still take or leave) and Ron made it clear he doesn’t like crunchy oatmeal cookies. So these will be soft and chewy. These are also incredibly mediocre if you try to eat them straight out of the oven. You almost can’t taste the spices in them at all when they’re fresh. But let them sit overnight or freeze and then thaw them and they are phenomenal!! Spicy (not the hot kind!), sweet, and chewy- everything an old fashioned oatmeal cookie should be!

These cookies are incredibly basic. All you need is this:

IMG_20140731_110655547

(Can I just say right now that I DESPISE doing the ingredient picture!! It seems I always forget something! This time it’s the brown sugar. Completely forgot it while I was fussing with everything, trying to make it look right and readable. HATE ingredients pictures!! Rant over.)

Make sure your butter is soft, measure out your ingredients, and you’re ready for SCP. That would be Standard Cookie Procedure. If you were to take a look at the cards in my recipe box, you would see a lot of recipes with no directions at all. I’ve been cooking and baking long enough that I know how to make most of my recipes just by looking at the title and the ingredients. And, honestly, most recipes fall under one of a few categories: Standard Quick Bread Procedure, Standard Yeast Bread Procedure, Standard Soup/Stew Procedure, Standard Casserole Procedure… you get the point. On most of my cookie recipes you’ll find, if anything, SCP. By that I know that I am to cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, then add the vanilla and any other liquid ingredient, beat some more, and then start adding the combined dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl at least once. After that it’s scoop and bake. If the dough needs to chill I’ll usually note that because, for me, that is outside SCP. So simply follow SCP and you’re good to go!!

IMG_20140731_112200926

Make sure the butter and sugar are completely creamed together. Then add your eggs…

IMG_20140731_112404268_HDR

Let the mixer run for about 30 seconds after each egg to make sure they are well incorporated. And scrape the bowl down like I did above. Add your dry ingredients, flour mixture first and then the oatmeal…

IMG_20140731_113011736_HDR

Your dough should still be very moist. It shouldn’t be crumbly at all. Make sure you use large eggs or else you won’t have enough liquid and protein from them for the cookies to turn out properly soft.

Ron and Zachariah like raisins, Liliana and I can take them or leave them, and Gloriana flat hates them. She likes oatmeal cookies, but always asks for them plain so I have to split the batch. This time Gloriana had a wonderful idea: dried apples. It was a stroke of genius! She’s good at that. My other two kids have good suggestions for meals and things when I ask them what they want. But Gloriana is really great at ideas for recipes. I’ve gotten a few recipe ideas from her over the years and she loves to help 🙂 As I’m splitting the batch anyway, it’s no big deal. So I bought some of the chewy dried apples and used kitchen shears to chop them into roughly raisins sized pieces. Once you’ve got the dry ingredients mixed in and have your basic dough, split the dough into two bowls. Mix the raisins into one and the apples into the other. Hmmm… or you could put both into the one batch of dough. That sounds good. Might have to try that! Anyway, add the fruits and mix well.

Now all that’s left is to scoop these onto cookie sheets and bake them in your (hopefully already preheated) oven. I use regular sized spoons like you’d eat ice cream with. Someday soon I’ll get cool little cookie scoops, but for now it’s spoons. I suppose it comes out to about 1 & 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Space them about 2 inches apart and put one sheet at a time into the oven. You could do two sheets and swap the bottom sheet for the top halfway through, but I prefer to just do one at a time.

Bake the cookies for anywhere from 8-12 minutes. I usually set the timer for the least amount of time for the first batch and adjust accordingly. Some people do a test cookie. I don’t, but I can certainly see why some do. If you want to, please go ahead 🙂 When the first batch is about 3 minutes from being done, start scooping the next batch onto a cookie sheet. That way, when the batch in the oven is done you’ll have another sheet ready to go in and you’ll save time.

When the cookies are done, let them sit on the cookie sheet for about a minute and then take a spatula and transfer them to a cooling rack.

IMG_20140803_091513936

The end of Summer is in sight and soon the school buses will reappear. My kids are super excited about school starting. They’ve always loved school, but this year is special because they get to go to a new school in a different state. But if your kids are lamenting the end of summer, this is a wonderful way to help them ease back into the school year. It will be a little taste of home and how much they are loved 🙂

The Recipe:

1 C Butter, softened (Room Temperature)

1 C Brown Sugar, packed

1/2 C Granulated Sugar

2 Eggs (Large)

1 t Vanilla

1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour

1 t Baking Soda

1/2 t Salt

1 t Cinnamon

1/4 t Nutmeg

3 C Oats

1 C Raisins or other dried fruit, in raisin sized pieces (optional)

The Method:

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

*Follow SCP 😉

In other words…

*Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside.

*In the bowl of a stand mixer of in a large bowl with a hand mixer beat butter until smooth.

*Add sugars to butter and cream at medium speed until lightened and as smooth as you can get it.(See picture above)

*Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

*Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

*On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Make sure the flour is completely mixed in.

*Still on low, mix in the oats. Make sure they are completely incorporated.

*If using, add in the dried fruit.

*Scoop onto cookie sheets, spacing each scoop about 2 inches apart.

*Bake each tray for 8-12 minutes, until the cookies are cooked through but only just and beginning to turn golden around the edges.

*Once removed from the oven, let the cookies sit on the tray for one minute. Then carefully remove to a cooling rack with a spatula (the thinner the spatula the better).

*To ensure the cookies stay nice and soft, I put them into the zip top bags or containers while they are still slightly warm and close the bag or put the cover on the container.

*Store in an airtight container. Will keep for about 3-4 days before they start getting crumbly.

I’m supposed to be baking my twins’ birthday cake today. The recipe calls for 2 sticks of softened butter. Butter that I was going to get out of the freezer last night and set on the counter so it would be ready to go when I was. Guess who didn’t get the butter out of the freezer last night? Yep- this currently addle brained mother of 3. This week has gotten so insanely busy that I forgot in all my running right up until bedtime to set the butter out. Sigh. But it’s ok! I learned a trick a couple years ago that gets me softened butter WAY faster than leaving it out & waiting and doesn’t leave me with half melted, half hard butter from the microwave. Behold…

IMG_0036

Yes- it’s a piece of marble (formerly a cheese slicer) and a glass bowl. You can just as easily use ceramic or stoneware- that’s what the person who gave me the idea used. The point is to use something that will hold heat, softening the butter gently. The water out of our tap’s hot side is about 120 degrees (my in laws won’t set it lower) so it’s hot enough without heating it farther. If you don’t have water that hot out of the tap heat enough water to fill your bowl in either the microwave or a kettle. Once the water is hot use it to heat the plate (or in my case the slab of marble), then discard the water in a manner of your choosing. Although you might hang onto it in case you need to heat your bowl & base again! Once your bowl & base are heated make it look like the picture and leave it to sit for awhile. In my case about 45 minutes to an hour because it was frozen. If you’re starting with butter out of the fridge it will take about 10-15 minutes. It takes a little longer but I like this method MUCH better than the microwave.

Now I can move on to cake baking. I hope; assuming I haven’t forgotten anything else!

I’ve always loved baking (those who know me know that I was very close to making a career for myself out of baking & pastry arts) but more often than not I end up cooking for my family rather than baking. Until fairly recently baking was something I did for a special occasion or when I got “the itch” to do so. But then I started really looking at ingredient lists and observing how much money we really spent on things I could easily make so much healthier (and much better tasting) at home. So I started baking our bread rather than buying it and started looking into other things to make from scratch. Cookies, of course, are one obvious answer. They are ridiculously priced at the store and chock full of chemicals & other things I don’t want to think about. I have a lot of other things I make from scratch instead of buying now but this post is about cookies so I’ll leave it at that for today. And now that I am making things from scratch more often I’ve also had to do a bit of a schedule overhaul. In addition to Laundry Day and Cleaning Day I now have Baking Days. Since freshly made baked goods (or anything else made at home) don’t last as long- because of shelf life and also the fact that my family likes them so much they don’t sit around for more than a day or two-I have had to schedule 3 Baking Days each week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Now it doesn’t always have to be something baked. It can be fruit salad or something similar or anything really- whatever I want to make from scratch that would normally be bought from the store. I call them “Baking Days” because it’s easy and alot of the things I make are, in fact, baked. I’m trying to keep things simple :.) So now in addition to meals I will also be blogging about things I make on my Baking Days. Here are two recipes from my inaugural Baking Day: Bacon Breakfast Cookies and Pink Milk Cookies. Enjoy!
We’ll do the Bacon Breakfast Cookies first. Yes- I really do feed my children cookies for breakfast. Sometimes if I’ve made a carrot cake or fruit pie or crisp they get that for breakfast too. They don’t get Oreos or chocolate cake; I’m not that lax. But I see no problem with giving them high quality, home made things to eat for breakfast that will fill their tummies and are more nutritious than most store bought cereals. Yes- I’m defensive about it. I’ve come across too many members of the Food Police who act like I’m handing my kids the sugar bowl and bottle of vodka for breakfast if I feed them something other than toast made from store bought bread and cereal that cost $5 a box. Ok. I rest my case. We can move
on…
In the little yellow bowl is half a pound of bacon. Yes, half a pound. It really does cook down to that little amount. Oh well. It’s in there and that’s what counts! The original recipe (which you can find here: http://www.baconcity.com/2008/07/02/bacon-breakfast-cookies/) called for raisins but I used craisins instead and I’m glad I did. They give the cookie a nicely different flavor and raisins would have been too sweet.
And here is a picture of my wonderful little helper. This is my son, Zachariah. He LOVES to help me in the kitchen. We’re
trying to come up with a catchy sidekick nickname for him :.)
You make these cookies just like any other but these will be a bit crumbly because of the corn flakes. It’s ok- they’ll bake up just fine.
When you’re putting the dough on the cookie sheets you can use your hands to pack the dough a bit. Not too much but just enough to make it stay together. This is what you will end up with…
They are SO good! They get fairly crisp after they cool with just a tiny bit of chewiness. The corn flakes give them a good crunch that is different from anything I’ve had.
On to the Pink Milk Cookies. My kids don’t watch much American TV. Well, they don’t watch ANY actual TV. We haven’t had cable or TV since 2006. We watch Netflix & shows on other websites. So I should say the kids don’t watch many American shows. Most of them are stupid and obnoxious (like Spongebob among others). They do watch Disney shows but they also watch BBC kids shows. One of their favorites is Charlie & Lola (find it on Youtube- it’s awesome!). Lola is a little girl who’s favorite drink is pink milk (or strawberry milk to us Yankees). I saw these cookies, originally called Pink Cloud Cookies, made with Strawberry Quick powder and knew I had an instant hit. These do not get eaten for breakfast
but do make a wonderful addition to lunches.
These have a very light strawberry flavor from the drink powder. If you wanted to you could add maybe a scant 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry extract along with the vanilla to give a bit more strawberry oomph. Next time I make them I intend to do exactly that.
When you put these on the cookie sheets make sure you don’t make them too big. They will stay very puffy and thick and if the dough drops are too big they won’t cook properly. Bake them until they are just starting to turn golden around the
edges. You should end up with…
Little pink pillows of yumminess- just like the original name says! These stay soft indefinitely so long as they are in an airtight container.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of my Baking Days Chronicles. Hopefully many more will come! :.)
The Recipe: Bacon Breakfast Cookies
1/2 Lb. bacon, diced small
1/2 C butter
3/4 C sugar
1 egg
1 C of flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 C corn flakes (or flake cereal of your choosing)
1/2 C Craisins
The Method: Bacon Breakfast Cookies
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Cook bacon until crisp and then drain.
*Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
*Add egg and beat well.
*Combine flour and baking soda; stir into butter mixture.
*Stir in bacon, corn flakes and craisins.
*Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
*Bake for 15-18 minutes.
*Remove to rack to cool–about 2 minutes, then remove from rack and put into airtight container or zip top bag.
The Recipe: Pink Milk Cookies
2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C strawberry quick powder
1 tsp vanilla
The Method: Pink Milk Cookies
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees
*In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
*Cream butter and sugar together until light & fluffy.
*Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each.
*Add vanilla and then strawberry quick powder.
*Drop by the tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes.
*Remove from cookie sheets immediately and cool completely on a cooling rack before moving to an airtight container or zip top bag.