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Go-to cookie or bar recipe for a crowd?

I'm supposed to be bringing several dozen of something to an event this weekend. I bake a lot, but not so many things that can be carried around on a napkin... And I often find cookies overly sweet & sort of uninteresting. Anyone have suggestions? I'll try Clotilde Dusoulier's Very Chocolate Cookies later this week. (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/recipes/), but I'd love another option as well.

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  1. I like to offer a range of cookies-some chocolate, some not.
    My personal favorite is CI'l key lime bars. Folks LOVE them!
    ps..just use regular limes.

    4 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Who's key lime bars? Some citrus around now sounds great. And can people cary them around on napkins or do they need a fork & plate? I'm really looking for napkin food...

      1. re: THewat

        CI=Cook's Illustrated. You need to subscribe to get this particular recipe-but it's out there on the net. Like here: http://macandcheesereview.blogspot.co...

        They're PERFECT for a napkin-you can cut them into bite-size pieces, or a couple-bite pieces. They're heaven!

        1. re: monavano

          Thank you!! (I'm a Cooks Illustrated fan, too - but I went to "Culinary Institute" as a first guess...)

      2. re: monavano

        I have never made the key lime bars but they are on my "to do" list. Just haven't found the right occasion.

        These seven layer bars are easy, very good and always a hit...

        http://www.eaglebrand.com/recipes/det...

      3. This is not an overly sweet cookie, even with the dab of jelly. It's on the back of the Solo label, so I think it's okay to print here. It's a one-bite cookie and looks pretty. You could use other jellies, and strained apricot jam would be good. The original cookie is for a crescent dusted with powdered sugar, but I morphed it into a thumbprint because I wanted the color.

        SOLO ALMOND THUMBPRINTS

        1 cup butter, softened
        1/3 cup sugar
        1 tsp almond extract
        1 can Solo Almond Filling (not marzipan)
        2 cups AP flour
        Seedless raspberry jam or jelly

        Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in almond extract and almond filling until blended. Stir in flour with wooden spoon to make stiff dough. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until dough is no longer sticky.

        Preheat oven to 350 F.

        Use a cookie scoop or make 48 balls by hand. Place on ungreased baking sheets (I usually use parchment anyway) about 1-1/2" apart. Press an indentation in each ball using index finger or the end of a wooden spoon.

        Bake 15-20 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned (my note says 18-19 minutes). Remove from oven and cool on baking racks 1 minute. Repress the indentation. Or just slide the parchment paper off the sheet. Cool the cookies.

        Fill the indentation with seedless raspberry jam or jelly. Melt white chocolate and put in a plastic bag. Cut a tiny bit off one corner and pipe a drizzle of white chocolate over the entire top of the cookie.

        Makes 48 cookies.

        Note: Put the jam or jelly in a plastic bag, squish it around to smooth it out, cut off the tip of a corner, squirt into the indentations.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          Thanks. I have some good apricot jam in the refrigerator. I've never used Solo Filling - on to new heights!

          1. re: nemo

            we called them thimble cookies growing up, very nice rich cookie - we always put an almond sliver in the dent.

            1. re: nemo

              I love the solo fillings for making Koloches, especially the poppyseed. We grew up with that.

            2. what about a very different, rich, sweet bar with 1 box of crushed ritz crackers, 1 can of condensed milk adn 1 package of skor bits. Mix everything and press into a square pan, bake 350 20 in.. Save a few tablespoons of the skor bits. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting, sprinkle skor bits on top. these should be cut into small squares as they are very rich and sweet but a wonderful bite.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                wow. that's a combination it's hard to wrap my mind around. It made me think of another bar, though - kind of a shortbread on the bottom, topped with a chocolate that verged on ganache, topped with crumbles - maybe with some oats in it? Any guesses?

                1. re: THewat

                  here is an online version (when I had these in Canada at a fishing lodge, we couldn't believe that's what they were made of):
                  http://www.divine.ca/en/food-and-home...

              2. I generally feel the same about cookies, but I love ginger cookies and have often made the following recipe (original source unknown; I got it from a neighbor) for groups:

                INGREDIENTS
                2 1/4 c. flour
                2 tsp. ground ginger
                1 tsp. ground cinnamon
                2 tsp. baking soda
                1/2 tsp. salt
                12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
                1 c. brown sugar
                1 egg
                1/3 c. molasses
                granulated sugar for frosting

                PREPARATION
                1.) Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda, and salt.
                2.) With an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until just incorporated.
                3.) Chill until firm, about one hour.
                4.) Preheat oven to 350°.
                5.) Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
                6.) Bake until edges just start to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
                7.) Cool on baking sheets about 2 minutes before removing to racks.

                1 Reply
                1. re: everybodyever

                  Thanks - I love ginger. I look forward to trying these!

                2. Lemon bars, made with a mix of lemon and lime juices. Include finely grated zest from both lemons and limes. It's the basic recipe - 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. 10x sugar, 1 c. butter - blend to pastry; bake 25 min @350F after spreading in 8x8 sq. baking pan. Beat together 1 c. granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tsp. baking powder, pinch salt - juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime (a couple tablespoonfuls or so) and the zest. Add to baked crust and bake 20 min more or until set but not quite browned. sprinkle generously w/10x sugar. Double recipe and use 9x13 pan for crowds. Cut into squares or rectangles as you wish.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Alice Letseat

                    Thanks Alice. Is this a "beat room temp. butter until fluffy, add flour & sugar" recipe or a "mix flour & sugar, work cold butter in until size of peas" recipe? Or something else entirely?

                  2. Since it's for a crowd, monster cookies, while on the sweet side, are really popular and easy to put together. They're like the kitchen sink of cookies which is why they go so quickly.

                    http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2007/07/mo...

                    These super sized ginger chewies (you can make them small, too) from Chow are interesting w/ the different spices and the best ginger cookies I've ever made:

                    http://www.chow.com/recipes/10071

                    For a less sweet option, these biscotti are good, not as hard as others so you don't need to dip them. They're pretty and a nice mix of additions. You can leave out the white chocolate, or drizzle dark chocolate over them.

                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: chowser

                      Paula Deen's Monster Cookies are really good and shockingly easy. I made a batch and sent them to neighbors and my husband's office. Snarfed. Up.

                      1. re: monavano

                        My mainstays in this kind of situation: lemon bars (as someone mentioned) and Nigella Lawson's gingerbread cake (which can be sliced into bars and keeps exceedingly well too!)

                        1. re: FataMagistra

                          Thank you, thank you, thank you - I'll let you know how the baking goes. I so appreciate the suggestions - it makes the whole thing MUCH more fun.

                          1. re: FataMagistra

                            if you're going to go Gingerbread, i'll recommend, as i often do, Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread baked in mini-loaves and sliced.

                            in addition to Seven Layer Bars, Nanaimo Bars are also generally a hit.

                            for something lighter and fruity, try Strawberry Rhubarb Bars: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/bars/strawb...

                            for banana-based: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/bars/banana...

                            cherry streusel: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/desserts/do...

                        2. re: chowser

                          Too funny! I just made Monster Cookies today. But I always add M&Ms, semisweet and butter scotch chips to mine.

                          They would hold rather well... if they ever last. :D

                        3. always, always - chocolate chip cookies and pecan pie bars

                          1. Paula Deens Gooey Butter Cakes- so many options- pumpkin, chocolate, banana, etc...
                            How about Black Bottoms or Oreo Truffles or Snowball cookies or Buckeyes?
                            graham or saltine bark is always a hit.

                            1. I picked this up from another Chowhound thread that I can no longer locate and have used it with great success. These are by far the richest chocolate cookies I've ever had (almost flourless--keep them small) and you can totally make the dough, form balls, freeze them, and then bake the day of if you want to do ahead. At the very least, they benefit (especially aesthetically) from letting the dough chill in the fridge overnight.

                              DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES, adapted from Maida Heatter:

                              2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
                              6 oz. semisweet chocolate
                              2 tbsp. (1 oz.) butter
                              1/4 c. flour
                              1/4 tsp. baking powder
                              1/8 tsp. salt
                              2 eggs
                              3/4 c. sugar
                              2 tsp. ground or instant coffee
                              1/2 tsp. vanilla
                              6 oz. chocolate chips

                              1. Preheat oven to 350°.
                              2. Line cookie sheet with foil; oil lightly.
                              3. Melt chocolate and butter over hot water; stir until completely mixed and smooth.
                              4. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
                              5. Beat eggs with sugar, coffee, and vanilla on high speed; reduce speed and add melted chocolate.
                              6. Add dry ingredients; stir just until blended. Add chips and nuts.
                              7. Spoon onto cookie sheet (a little easier if you chill the dough for a few minutes or even better overnight in the fridge); bake 8 minutes or until tops are dry. (Caution: these burn easily.)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sholli

                                This is totally great - 14 oz of chocolate & not much else - ya gotta love it!

                              2. These are wonderful. They're quite dense so I tend to cut them into almost fudge-sized pieces, which means you get a lot out of a 9x13 pan. Trust me, they don't taste like butterscotch chips. They're so popular when I make them: http://www.bakeorbreak.com/2008/03/bu...

                                1. I love MArtha Stewart's Brown Butter Toffee blondies. They're a great change from brownies and have fantastic rich flavor from the brown butter. I've used regular toffee bits as well as chocolate covered toffee bit in the recipe and both are delicious... wish I had one now :)

                                  http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/b...

                                  Enjoy!
                                  Ladyberd
                                  http://ladyberds-kitchen.blogspot.com

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ladyberd

                                    The odyssey continues... I'm being completely obsessive about this, I know, but I feel that there MUST be some cookies out there I adore.

                                    So far I've made:
                                    SHORTBREAD from Cooks Illustrated (the rice flour doesn't do it for me, and the recipe is really fussy...)
                                    GINGERSNAPS, recipe from a friend - the jury is still out on these. They have a ton of ginger, which I like, but they are a little hard. Perhaps holding them overnight will help.
                                    CHEWY CHOCOLATE OAT BARS (Betty Crocker) - I've had great versions of this, but my effort this morning wasn't one of them.
                                    and VERY CHOCOLATE COOKIES (Clotilde Dusoulier) - link in my first post. I made a very small batch today & they are the best of the bunch. I'm guessing they have a strong tie to the World Peace Cookies, which I haven't made. The dough is really, really dry. I put it in the refrigerator while I mulled the situation over - I'll let you know if I regret it.
                                    Following a bunch of Chow recommendations, I'm going to move on to a browned butter cookie next... and then the lemon bars if I'm still standing...

                                  2. I always make these cookies from Caprial Pence when I have a party. I omit the nuts and instead of 3/4 cup each white and dark chocolate chips, I use all mini chocolate chips. Instead of baking cookies as directed, I use a tablespoon scoop to portion the batter into mini-muffin pans lined with mini-muffin liners. After they are baked and cooled, I usually dip the tops into a liqueur-flavored ganache. I call my edited version Brownie Bites.

                                    Brownie Cookies

                                    Ingredients

                                    * 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
                                    * 1/2 cup unsalted butter
                                    * 1 3/4 cups sugar
                                    * 4 large eggs
                                    * 1 teaspoon vanilla
                                    * 1 1/4 cups flour
                                    * 3/4 cup each white and dark chocolate chips
                                    * 1/4 cup toasted ground pecans (optional)

                                    Directions

                                    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chocolate and butter in a large metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate is just melted, remove from the heat. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, chips and pecans, and mix well. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a well-greased sheet pan. Bake 7 to 10 minutes, or just until the cookies are set. Let cool on the pan at least 5 minutes, then remove.