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COOKIES - Home Cooking Dish of the Month (December 2013)

Welcome to the reporting thread for the December Dish of the Month. This month we'll all be baking COOKIES! A perfect for dish for sharing and gifting, and a cozy way to warm up your kitchen.

Please share your experiences on this thread. Your cookies can be old family favorites, newfound recipes, or your own inventions. Please share your ingredients, your method, your outcome. As always, photos are welcome and appreciated.

If your recipe is online, you are welcome to share a link. If you are reporting on a recipe, please remember to paraphrase if it is not your own; verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

All are welcome to join in. If you haven't participated before, or if you've been lurking, please jump right in. Feel free to ask questions too.

Ladies and gentlemen, preheat your ovens!

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  1. I have not made cookies in ages-
    suggestions are needed for easy recipes

    1. I'm making a chocolate shortbread cookie with mint icing!

      2 Replies
      1. re: panthera

        Butterscotch cutouts and chocolate shortbread

        1. re: panthera

          The chocolate shortbread looks great! :D

      2. Anyone have experience using Earth Balance sticks in their usual Christmas cookie recipes? Little boy #2 was diagnosed with a milk allergy last year; I've used Earth Balance in a couple of simple things (brownies and cake) but haven't worked up the nerve to attempt butter cookies or my usual Christmas cookie. recipes (biscotti, spritz, and just about everything from the Rose's Christmas Cookies cookbook).

        15 Replies
        1. re: gimlis1mum

          My friend has had excellent success using Butter Flavor Crisco as a substitute in almost all standard cookie recipes (except spritz), adding 1.5 tsp of water with each 1/4 C of shortening.
          You may want to focus on cookie recipes with oil/shortening, and those with more flavor than vanilla butter cookies/spritz..
          We've also found that Almond milk works very well as milk substitute in frostings and baked goods.

          1. re: MidwesternerTT

            Thanks for the tip about butter flavor Crisco, I'll give it a try.

            I'll have to look for some new recipes. I tried a gingersnap recipe last year nd the little boy didn't like it (probably just doesn't like gingersnaps, I don't think it was the lack of butter). I really like my old standby recipes, but I hate to have tin upon tin of cookies around the house that he can't eat.

            1. re: gimlis1mum

              Maybe take a look at this thread, where the OP was seeking cookie recipes without butter, but also didn't want margarine or shortening. Some good biscotti and non-biscotti suggestions, perhaps something will appeal.


              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                that's a great thread, thanks. The link to the chocolate snowcaps cookies looks promising, I can see the little boy really getting into those.

              2. re: gimlis1mum

                Before the days where Earth Balance was easily attainable, I'd made lots of "classic" choc chip cookies with vegan margarine for vegan friends.

                IME they baked up just fine. They simply don't taste like butter, but easily passed as regular CC cookies.

                I also had a recipe which used canola oil as the fat. They were REALLY good, moist, and soft, but left weird little grease stains on the parchment. They were not greasy though. I can share recipe if you'd like to try.

                I second the biscotti suggestion. My favorite biscotti has no butter, and uses oil as well. I fold a cinnamon/brown sugar "streusel" into the biscotti when shaping, then dip in white chocolate if I'm feeling crazy. But they are a great texture as is. I'll try and post recipe later if I remember.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  oooh, please do post the biscotti recipe! Also interested in the cookies with canola oil. Thank you!

                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                    Here you go. Both recipes have been modified quite a few times by me, so I think it's safe to type them out. Sorry about any weird measurements, I typically halve recipes.

                    Cinnamon Biscotti

                    -2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
                    -1/3 cup white sugar
                    -1 egg
                    -1 teaspoon vanilla
                    -1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
                    -pinch of salt
                    -1 teaspoon baking powder

                    -1/3 cup brown sugar
                    -generous sprinkling of cinnamon

                    -1 cup white chocolate

                    To make the biscotti: mix oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla until combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt.

                    Line a baking sheet with parchment, then shape the dough into a long flat rectangle, about 8" wide x 10" long x 1/2" thick.

                    Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over entire surface. Fold dough over filling (lengthwise) and press edges lightly to seal.

                    Bake log at 375 F for about 25 minutes, or until it's set and lightly golden.

                    Remove from oven. Using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2"-3/4" biscotti (your preference). Place slices back on baking sheet. Return to oven for 6-10 minutes (flipping once) until golden all around edges.


                    Optional: Melt white chocolate in microwave or double boiler, and drizzle over/dip cooled biscotti.

                    *These last forever in an airtight container*

                    Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (like Tollhouse)
                    Makes 2 dozen

                    -3/4 cup sugar
                    -2/3 cup vegetable oil
                    -1 teaspoon molasses (can sub maple syrup)
                    -1 tablespoon water
                    -2 teaspoons vanilla
                    -2 cups flour
                    -1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                    -1/2 teaspoon salt
                    -3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
                    -1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

                    Beat sugar, oil, and molasses very well (they may never fully come together). Add water and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

                    Mix flour, salt, and baking soda separately, then add to wet ingredients and combine. Stir in chocolate chips, and nuts if using.

                    Scoop dough onto lined baking sheets in roughly 2 tbspn. scoops and flatten slightly. Bake @ 350 for about 8-10 minutes, rotating once halfway through. They should be golden brown like a regular Tollhouse cookie when they're done.

                    That vegan recipe sure has a lot of oil. I haven't made them in a while but always recall they'd get eaten super quickly by both vegans and non-vegans alike.

                    Anyway, let me know what you think of you try either!

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      I tried the vegan choc chip cookies tonight. The dough was pretty crumbly; I should have sifted my flour before measuring I think. I added a tablespoon or so of extra water to help it come together.

                      The cookies look great, just like regular toll house cookies. In fact I think they look better than the regular ones because they didn't spread out so much - the cookies stayed much thicker. I miss the buttery flavor but otherwise the taste is great - a little crispy/crunchy at the edges, a little chewy on the inside. Little boy gobbled them up happily. And since they're vegan I can take some to my friend whose daughter has an egg allergy. Thanks!

                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        Glad to hear your son liked them!

                        I agree they could use a little something, but I like them much better than most vegan CC cookies I've tried. I appreciate the texture and height of the cookies, like you said.

                        Perhaps as someone mentioned upthread, you could try subbing in butter flavored Crisco for the flavor? I've never tried, but maybe it would be worth a go.

                        1. re: gimlis1mum

                          my son used to have the dairy and egg allergy. he's outgrown both but desserts were a challenge. I know you made your cookies already but you can also sub coconut oil for the butter. I have made muffins that call for butter and subbed it with coconut oil with great results. i don't like frying with coconut oil bc i think it imparts too much of a coconutty flavor but in baked goods it's a whole different ball game. good luck!

                          1. re: trolley

                            trolley, is there a brand of coconut oil that your found works best in cookies? I tried some from Trader Joe's and really didn't like the flavor.

                            1. re: gimlis1mum

                              well, if you didn't like the trader joe's kind then you may just not be a coconut oil type of person. i can assure you that the brand I buy is no less coconutty so i would stick with margarine. the brand I buy is a giant tub from Costco called Nutiva. you can always use coconut oil as a moisturizer. it works well for chapped lips and under eye for wrinkles.

                              1. re: gimlis1mum

                                Try refined coconut oil - it is very neutral tasting without any trace of coconut flavour.

                                1. re: herby

                                  I agree with this. I use the Whole Foods organic refined coconut oil and it's lovely. It smells fantastic and is definitely a greAt moisturizer (anti fungal to boot). I slather it on my overworked hands and my baby boys entire body.

                2. re: gimlis1mum

                  Tried a half-batch of the recipe for peanut butter and jelly jewels from Rose's Christmas Cookies, that I discussed downthread. The Earth Balance sticks worked very well - slight difference in flavor and texture, of course, but very tasty. The cookies have more of that mouthfeel you get with shortening, but that's to be expected, right? Nothing else behaves like good old butterfat.

                  My main complaint with those sticks is that the product is really sticky, or greasy, or something. It's hard to wash up because the Earth Balance stick margarine just really sticks to everything. I wipe everything down with paper towels, and then rinse off the residue with really hot water, and THEN hand wash to get the dishes/utensils really clean. It's a pain.

                  I didn't bother trying the cookie press to make them into PB&J "sandwiches" like I usually do....after thinking it through it makes more sense to just do half-batches of cookies that are dairy-free, then make the usual big batches for gift-giving. More work for me but it would be too expensive to use Earth Balance for the big batches. This way the little boy gets to eat the cookies that look like everyone else's :-)

                3. MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES

                  I made these cookies for a Mexican dinner that a friend and I cooked last night. Learnt to make them at a cooking course last summer - super easy but tasty little things. Ended up putting a few drops of water this time for dough to come together - maybe the air is too dry since it is unseasonably cold or my butter wasn't warm enough. Turned out well in the end. Here is the recipe:

                  2C all purpose flour

                  1C butter, at room temperature

                  1/2C icing sugar

                  1pinch salt

                  1t vanilla or almond extract

                  Preheat oven to 350F

                  Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in vanilla and work butter into the mixture until it comes together. Shape dough into small 1/2 inch balls, flatten them into 1/4 inch thick disks and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly browned on the bottom. Dust with extra icing sugar when cool.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: herby

                    Hmm, have always made these (also called Russian Tea cakes--not a clue where either name comes from) with ground or very finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, Mr. P prefers walnuts). Might give your version a try.

                    1. re: pine time

                      We make them with nuts, too -- one of my all-time favorites.

                    2. re: herby

                      Yes on the nuts. I don't think they will melt in your mouth or be as decadent without chopped pecans. I guess you could put in walnuts or almonds if you like. One of my favorites too.

                      1. re: herby

                        I've made these all my life. I intend to make some this season.

                        These come together best after the dough is chilled. And I think there is an abundance of slightly different recipes.

                        i prefer pecans, but the original recipe I learned on called for walnuts.

                        I also prefer an unsweetened cookie. Some recipes call for sugar in the dough. Love these!

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          One year, I used finely chopped, toasted macadamias in place of pecans--great tasting.

                      2. Next weekend a few friends are getting together for tea and cookies; everyone is bringing a batch of cookies + recipes to taste. I am planning to make Cornmeal-Lime from Flour and Confetti from Momofuku. Has anyone made these cookies?

                        31 Replies
                        1. re: herby

                          I have made the cornmeal lime cookies. Watch them closely because I feel that the recipe cook time is way off base. They are delicious!

                          1. re: DowntownJosie

                            Do you mean the bake time is too long? She says they should be a bit cake-like in the centre - that's how yours were?

                            1. re: herby

                              I think I followed the bake times closely each time I made them with no problems.

                          2. re: herby

                            I've made the cornmeal lime a couple times and they were just fabulous. Had to make them gluten free, too, and turned out beautifully.

                            1. re: girlwonder88

                              What flour did you use? I am always scared to change flours and just look for GF recipes but people are substituting successfully and I want to learn from all of you who are brave to do it on their own.

                              1. re: herby

                                I have been fooling around with making my own flours but honestly, the Bobs Red Mill is great and not nearly as expensive as the others. We've been stocking up in the freezer when it goes on sale. With cookies, I'll add 1/4 tsp xantham gum to the recipe but I'm not sure that's really necessary.

                                Re the size-I make the cookies smaller than she recommends and bake them quite a bit less.

                                1. re: girlwonder88

                                  Thank you for your advise! So you use A/P GF flour, right? I used it in pancakes and such but not crazy about bean flour that is sometimes in the mix.

                                  I read somewhere that in the old days - 100 + years ago - many baked dessert goods were made with rice flour. Would love to find those old recipes and also learn how to substitute using real flours and not gums and such.

                            2. re: herby

                              The cornmeal lime cookies are fabulous. I haven't tackled any of the Momofuku cookies yet, though I did have great success with Tosi's chocolate chip cake,

                              1. re: roxlet

                                It's because of that cake, Roxlet, and your report on it that I got the Momofuku book out of the library! I've taken it back since and decided that I do not need to own it but I copied five recipes + two sub-recipes; counting The Cake as one recipe :) I also ordered the ring, acetate strips, glucose and bought other weird and wonderful ingredients in hope to make this cake for our Christmas dinner but will see what my friends have in mind.

                                1. re: herby

                                  I got the glucose for the blueberry cookies, which someone else had posted about on this thread, but I haven't had the chance to make them yet. Maybe this weekend.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Try putting tart dried cherries into some of the dough instead of dried blueberries and report back :0)

                                    1. re: soccermom13

                                      Not this time--I already bought the dried blueberries! Now I just need some milk powder to make the milk crumb. That's the problem with this book -- It seems that I am always missing some ingredient...

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I love these cookies, but they are very sweet. I preferred the cherries because they register as "tarter" to me than dried blueberries and that contrast of sweet dough and tart cherries seemed better to me. But I liked them made with blueberries too. Pls let us know what you think of the cookies.

                                        p.s. Wish you were here so I could give you some milk powder. Seems like the only way to buy it here is in massive packages so that's what I did. I have a multi-year supply!

                                        1. re: soccermom13

                                          Do you have a Bulk Barn or similar store that sells everything in bins and you take as much as you need? I found it super useful for things like candied fruit, milk powder, and even sprinkles.

                                          1. re: herby

                                            Hi Herby,
                                            I use our co-op all the time for small quantities, but I never thought to look there for powdered milk. That is a great idea!

                                            p.s. Never heard of Bulk Barn! In what part of the US do you live?

                                          2. re: soccermom13

                                            Yes, massive packages is one reason I keep putting making this off. I know my husband will look at me as if I've lost my mind if he sees a huge package of milk powder in the pantry!

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              Use the extra dry milk powder to make homemade Hot Chocolate mix, example recipe - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hot-Coco...

                                              or flavored coffee mixes - these by Heloise use dry milk not creamer http://www.cooks.com/recipe/fv2zf3d1/...

                                              or in breadmachine bread recipes that call for milk

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I've seen bulk milk powder at bulk food stores...

                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                  I wish we had a bulk food store in our area, but I've never heard of any in the area.

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    It's too bad... they make such a difference, especially for something like spices when you just want to buy a little bit! You'll just have to come up to Toronto for a visit.. ;)

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Roxlet, my daughter who lives in NYC goes to a Co-Op that is on the way to their house north of the city. It is a wonderful Co-Op that has great selection of organic produce, meats, eggs, dairy, etc. They also have a bulk section - I remember spices there but could be other things too. Maybe there is a Co-Op in your area worth exploring?

                                                        1. re: herby

                                                          I'd be interested to know where that is. We're fairly close to the city, distance-wise, but kind of a wasteland when it comes to specialty items.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            It is in Spring Valley, across GW bridge. Here is the link: http://www.hungryhollow.org/

                                                            Even faster across Tappan Zee bridge.

                                  2. re: herby

                                    Baked Cornmeal-Lime cookies last night and they are great - sweetness, texture, flavour just perfect. I am not sure about my icing. I might've put a bit too much lime juice - juiced one lime and it was a large one - but I reduced water to compensate. The icing is tangy and tasty but looks kind of translucent and not white as I imagined it to be.

                                    Confetti cookies from Momofuku are in the fridge ready to be baked. They look very festive with all colours of sprinkles in them. I actually just scooped different colour sprinkles into one bag; Bulk Barn had all kinds of colours - purple and orange and blue and what-not :) Recipe is involved but not too bad. I baked the crumb yesterday and have 1/2 recipe of it left to bake something else, not sure what yet - the book went back to the library. Formed the cookies yesterday too and put in the fridge to cool as instructed.

                                    1. re: herby

                                      Got to love Bulk Barn: since they opened one in downtown Toronto my life has changed. My friends actually get me BB gift certificates for my birthday! Their chocolate is really good.. the Callebaut wafers..

                                          1. re: rstuart

                                            We were in there last time we were in T.O. :)

                                  3. World's Best Sugar Cookies. This is an LA Times recipe from the mid-80's. Very easy and they disappear from the cookie plate instantly. [the recipe page is kind of wonky...]


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: nikkihwood

                                      I liked how simple this recipe looked and I like the idea of rolling out balls of sugar cookies vs cutting them out, so I made a batch of this recipe today and froze in balls for the baking marathon next weekend. I baked a couple for dessert as well and they were really good! Thanks for passing along such a nice recipe, it's a keeper!

                                      1. re: geminigirl

                                        It truly is! I am happy that you love it as much as we do.

                                    2. I'm getting a jump on Xmas cookies with a no bake rum ball that I used to make back in the seventies. Crushed Vanilla Wafers, finely chopped walnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup and rum are combined, formed into small balls and rolled in more powdered sugar. They need to "age" in a tin so they'll be ready in three weeks to give out.

                                      Up-thread some one asked for an easy recipe and this one is a good starter. Lots of variations on the net for these.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                        Thanks for reminding me about these! I love them, and when I remember to make them at all, it's always right before Christmas. They're much better "aged."

                                        This year I'm trying a different version from my usual, with chocolate cookies instead of vanilla wafers. Found it on Food 52:

                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                          OK. These are the richest, darkest, fudgiest bourbon balls ever. I don't think they're going to last through the aging process.

                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                            I am going to make these; thanks for the heads up and the link LN!

                                            Going to my sisters with all of the family for Christmas week, and my sister is so busy working, and then hosting us all, I thought I would suprise by mailing a box of homemade cookies a few days before flying in so they would be there when we are all together:) These are going on the cookie plate for all the adults!

                                        2. Any savoury cookies, with cheese and herbs?

                                          And no, they aren't any lower in calories than sweet ones...

                                          I've never made them, but enjoyed them at parties.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: lagatta

                                            If you go to the Food and Wine site and search on Dori Greenspan there are several cocktail cookie recipes of hers from an article Christmas 2011. I can only vouch for the Chocolate-Cayenne cookies but am going to make the Smoked Cheese Cocktail cookies this year. However as the recipe suggests I am going to sub gruyere for the smoked gouda.

                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                              I have made all of these; and had clients even pay me for them - all delicious!

                                              The chocolate-cayenne are good with red wine, or bourbon cocktails.

                                              I also took her brown sugar shortbread, cut the sugar, added ground pecans and smoked paprika and made a lovely cocktail cookie that way.

                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                Ina Garten has a bleu cheese walnut cookie and savory palmeirs (sp?). Check food network for her recipes.

                                                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                  There are recipes out there for southern cheddar/pecan/cayenne cookies that are quite good.

                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                    The savory palmiers is one of my go tos for Christmas... they are delicious and also pretty looking for the holidays.

                                                  2. re: lagatta

                                                    lagatta - Just ran across this article from Food and Wine, with some of Greenspan's savoury cookies, all in one place. If you click on the photo, each one has a link to a recipe. I' d like to try the apricot tarragon cookies, but several of them are calling to me. She calls them cocktail cookies. I have friends who are very good craft-cocktail mixers; I think I know what they're getting for Christmas.


                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                      The apricot tarragon I think are my favorites. Good choice for gifts LN.

                                                  3. I give cookies as gifts to family and a couple of friends. My cookie baking wishlist this year has 19 varieties on it, 12 of those new. Last year I managed to make 10 varieties and thought that was too much. So I need to narrow down, but am having a tough time. My current plan is to make my 2 kinds of biscotti first, then prepare the doughs for the 5 kinds of slice & bake. I can bake them a few at a time over the next few weeks when I've got the oven heated for half-recipes of the other varieties.

                                                    42 Replies
                                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                      Off to a rocky start with missing ingredients. It seems we've used most of the container of sour cream (planned for cardamom toast biscotti) on our baked potatoes over the weekend, and the jar of maraschino cherries that I usually store in the fridge condiments area (to protect its glass jar) turned out to be roasted red peppers - not the right thing for "Santas Whiskers" slice & bake.

                                                      With 4 inches of fresh snow and more still coming down out there, I'm going to try vanilla Greek yogurt in the biscotti and dried cherries in the Santas Whiskers.

                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                        I'd think both substitutions should be fine. I'm jealous of your snow! We were to get some rain today, but nary a drizzle, and it's nearly 70. Hardly "the weather outside is frightful" for the season.

                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                          Pine Time, I don't know where you live, but I'm jealous of your weather. Assume a) that you are somewhere in the US and b) that the 70 is F, or you'd be dead. I'm in Montréal, not much snow or very cold by our standards, but we got some nasty soupy "snain" that turned into ice, so I couldn't ride my bicycle for several days, and I always hope to be able to almost until Christmas - handiest way of picking up ingredients at different little shops.

                                                          I think the subs would be fine. Dunno about roasted red peppers, even in savoury cocktail cookies. They'd be too soft.

                                                          I love cardamom and have both powdered and pods on hand.

                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                            Lagatta: Southern CA. People here are excited that "winter" has arrived today: it's to only be mid-60s today. I miss snow, but you can keep the "snain!"

                                                            Love baking with cardamom--may add a tiny pinch to today's cookies.

                                                        2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                          The biscotti came out just fine, especially the almond version that called for a Tablespoon of extract, 3 C. flour, 1 C. each sugar and oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 2 eggs. And I prepped the dough for an apricot/hazelnut/coconut slice & bake. That's chilling overnight in the fridge.

                                                          But the ingredients shortages continue - making the Almond biscotti used up the last of my almond extract. I either need to go out in sub-zero wind-chills Thursday for specialty groceries, or use Creme de Almond in those Santas Whiskers cookies (and anything else on the list that wants almond extract).

                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                            A familiar complain to any of us in Northern climes.. is it *really* worth going out there? I am impressed by your list, what have you cut it down to? There is always more to bake than I have time for....

                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                              Since it won't get above zero F today, staying in and baking sounds good. The list is still 20 long and I'm on numbers 8/9/10 today. One cookie came off the list (Tallahasse Lassies recipe says "best if served the same day these are made")., but I added 3 others - date pinwheels, waffle iron cookies, and the Gingerbread Snowglobe from Dec BHG. The list is now prioritized, with some grouped as "choose one a)b)c)" - for example #8 today is either pecan tassies (miniature pecan pies in mini-muffin tins) or walnut squares (frosted bar cookie).

                                                              I keep coming across other recipes I've marked - so many cookie ideas, so few occasions for which to bake them.

                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                So many cookie ideas, so few occasions.. could be my motto!

                                                          2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                            Lol as the roasted red peppers looking like maraschino cherries sounds like something I would do. I'm sure the vanilla Greek yoghurt would work in a cookie recipe. Looking down thread I see it did. Always enjoy your posts!
                                                            (Consider Amazon.com if it's too cold to leave the kitchen.)

                                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                                              We started using Amazon when they first began (then, they had only books). In the very early days, they'd send us promos of sticky notes w/ their name, coffee mugs, etc. Even now, on the rare occasion when we have to return something & want their pre-paid mailing label, they'll look at our history and go "woooow" about our longevity with them (comes from Mr P being in the computer biz, back when the Internet sign-on was a long "node"). Still love Amazon!

                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                I remember those good old days, when Amazon was actively courting us. I had the coffee mug for a long time.

                                                          3. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                            Three more baked, photo attached, and I'm resting before making two doughs to refrigerate overnight.

                                                            I experimented, unsuccessfully with forming one of our favorites, Cranberry Crispies, as stripes or pinwheels. The dough, which starts from a quick bread mix, is just too soft for that. I'm calling the results December Dawn Cranberry Crispies (Pink and white clouds). Recipe here http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cr...

                                                            I'm very happy with the flavor and easy slicing of the Apricot Hazelnut Coconut refrigerator cookies. The bright yellow apricot bits will add a nice hint of color on my cookie plates.
                                                            Recipe is here http://www.sweetsadiesbaking.com/2009...

                                                            The Santas Whiskers recipe (coconut cherry) is getting marked don't make again. I added an egg to the (too dry) dough so I could form it into logs and roll those in shredded coconut, which promptly fell off as the logs got sliced. The finished cookie is OK looking, but still very dry tasting. This one was from a community cookbook, usually a great source for tried & true recipes. Oh, well.

                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                              Pfeffernuesse - The family recipe makes 18 dozen as sliced flat small (1-inch across) cookies. Alternatively they can be shaped as balls. I baked 4 dozen this a.m. My Mom likes hers with anise, no nuts. We like them with nuts, no anise. Easy enough to divide the dough before the last stir-in, so everybody gets their favorite. The rest of the dough logs are still in the fridge and will get baked next week. Happy to post the recipe if someone's looking for a mildly spiced big-batch cookie.

                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                Son of a gun, these look like what I'm looking for. PLEASE post the recipe.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Happy to -

                                                                  ¾ cup butter or margarine
                                                                  1 cup sugar
                                                                  1 cup dark Karo corn syrup
                                                                  2 eggs
                                                                  1 teaspoon soda, dissolved in a little milk (abt 1 T. of milk)
                                                                  ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
                                                                  ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
                                                                  1/8 teaspoon allspice
                                                                  ½ teaspoon anise (optional)
                                                                  1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
                                                                  8 cups flour (approximately), until stiff enough to roll dough into a log

                                                                  Mix all ingredients. Roll into several small 10 – 12 inch long logs – about the diameter of a nickel or your thumb knuckle. Wrap logs in waxed paper and refrigerate 8 hours. Slice about 1/4 inch and bake on ungreased cookie sheets, approximately 10 minutes at 350 degrees F., until cookies are light golden brown. OK to space only a finger-width apart, since these don't spread much while baking. May also slice thickly, roll slices into balls about ¾ inch diameter and bake.

                                                                  Makes about 18 dozen small (1-inch) flat cookies, or 9 - 10 dozen ball-shaped cookies.

                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                    Thanks!!! They sound very good but the cookie of his dreams is not spiced.

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                        Those look great but they apparently had something in them that gave them a slightly rough texture.

                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                        The spice level in these is almost undetectable ( 1/4 tsp. cinnamon for 8 C. flour...), but I can understand not wanting to waste 8 cups of flour to find out.

                                                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                          You know, I will try these. They certainly do look like what he remembers, I just don't think the "Weller girls" (who were rather past girlhood) would have used corn syrup. HMM

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Why not on the corn syrup? It's certainly been around for a long while.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              I know you're going to find this recipe, even if you end up going door to door in Iowa. I look forward to you sharing the results!

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                It's been a 40 year tilt at that particular windmill, and the family had been trying to get it before then. "Ma" Weller (the "girls'" mom) was a non-recipe handful of this and teacup of that baker.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Hmm.. I sometimes wonder if the recipes that we loved as children are ever truly "replicable".. or if they forever remain as ideals? Not that that will stop us from trying..

                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                            Aren't pfeffernusse spiced by definition? Just out of curiosity I checked my grandmother's cookbooks, which date from the early 1900s, and all the recipes had at least cinnamon and nutmeg in them.

                                                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                      I made the World Peace Cookie dough a couple days ago, and baked some this morning. The recipe & fine-textured, deeply chocolate taste seemed familiar. It turns out I made these in 2008, having found the same recipe she'd originally named Korova Cookies featured online at a now obsolete site "A Spoonful of Sugar"

                                                                      Edited to remove the bad link

                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                        Pecan Tassies, Strawberries & Cream, Peanut Butter with Penuche frosting, and Elves on a Log. Not pictured, Lemon Oat Lacies - too fragile for a cookie tray.

                                                                        The peanut butter, a family Christmas favorite most often as fork-crossed flattened balls, were going to be made as shaped press cookies this year. After finding the box with disks but not the press and unpacking the entire cupboard, I have NO idea when/where the press disappeared. I dressed up half of the flat cookies with penuche (brown sugar) frosting, leaving the other half plan per husband request. For us, these have perfect texture/flavor as-is.
                                                                        Recipe recently posted here on CH http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9236...

                                                                        The Strawberries & Cream cookie was recommended in a baking discussion last summer. I had fun working with the light and flavorful freeze dried strawberries - just 1/2 oz. filled the cup measure. I will chop them next time, per recipe directions - simply sliced out of the bag were a bit too big for easy cookie formation. I'd frozen the chocolate bars last summer and the thin 3.2 oz bars slivered nicely with chefs knife while still frozen. It took about 5 oz, most of 2 bars, to get 1 C chopped. Recipe http://kirbiecravings.com/2013/07/str...

                                                                        Tassies and Elves on a Log are from 2 community cookbooks. Tassies are very easy to make IF you have the right tools. A wooden "tassie smoosher" or plastic-wrap-covered cork is essential for fast formation of the dough cups in well-greased mini-muffin pans.

                                                                        The Elves on a Log cookie is tasty, but bakes exactly as shaped - I'd expected them to spread a bit to smooth out dents and enclose the M&M's. Next time I'll pinch both ends, stand-up the candy and rename these Crew in a Canoe.

                                                                        The Lemon Oat Lacies (a Quaker Oats recipe) turned out to be a very fragile cookie. Too-subtle flavor, as well.. I'll not be making these again.

                                                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                          I need to look into that "tassie smoosher" as I make a similar cookie and have always used my thumb to press the dough into the muffin tins...a cork is a great idea, too!

                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                            The official name is "mini-tart shaper". Makes a world of difference in prep time and consistency of the cup shapes. I got mine from Pampered Chef, which unfortunately doesn't seem to provide direct links to item.

                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                              It is a wonderful tool. I love tassies. A good variation uses lemon curd, same baking time as in most tassie recipes.

                                                                          2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                            Hmm.. I might have been the one to recommend the strawberries and cream cookies.. aren't the freeze-dried strawberries great? I picked up another bag at Trader Joe's when I was in the States last month.

                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                              I've tried every kind of smoother, and I find that nothing works as well as my thumbs.

                                                                            2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                              Pinwheel Date Cookies, page 95 from Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook

                                                                              Easy to follow instructions, tasty results. The brown sugar, butter, egg, flour dough is chilled then rolled into a rectangle and spread with a date/water/sugar/nut paste. Rolled up, chilled another couple of hours (or overnight), slice & bake.

                                                                              Ready now to pack/send out the boxes to family.

                                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                Would mind sharing this recipe? My DH adores dates and I think these would be right up his alley.

                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                  Here you go (paraphrased version):

                                                                                  Pinwheel Date Cookies

                                                                                  Paraphrased from p. 95 of Pillsbury's Best Cookies cookbook Makes 5 dozen cookies. Takes about 4 hours ( 1/2 hour prep time, divided, 3 hours of chilling time, divided, 1/2 hour baking time)

                                                                                  Cookies ingredients:

                                                                                  1 C. packed brown sugar
                                                                                  1/2 C. softened butter or margarine
                                                                                  1 egg
                                                                                  1 1/2 C. flour
                                                                                  1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
                                                                                  1/4 tsp. salt

                                                                                  Filling ingredients:
                                                                                  3/4 C. finely chopped dates
                                                                                  1/4 C. sugar
                                                                                  1/3 C. water
                                                                                  2 Tablespoons finely chopped nuts

                                                                                  Make cookie dough in a large bowl: Beat brown sugar, butter and egg until light & fluffy. Add flour, baking powder & salt. Mix on low speed until a dough forms. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

                                                                                  Make filling: In a saucepan combine dates, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in nuts. Cool.

                                                                                  Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin on a uniformly lightly-floured surface, to form a 8 x16 rectangle. Spread thinly with date filling. Working from the long edge, roll up the dough similar to a jelly-roll. Cut in half to make two 8-inch dough rolls. Wrap these in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

                                                                                  Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice dough into 1/4 inch pinwheels and place slices on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 6-9 minutes until light golden brown. Remove immediately from cookie sheets.

                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                    Thank you so much for typing this up! Hubby will be very happy!

                                                                              2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                A just for us Gingerbread Snow Globe - the last hurrah of my cookie baking. There will still be another round of tassies for us/neighbors, and perhaps another round of almond biscotti if we keep having those with mid-morning coffee.

                                                                                The template & recipe were in the December 2013 Better Homes are Garden magazine BHG.com/houses

                                                                                I ran short of ground ginger so used 1 tsp. garam masala along with 1 1/2 tsp. of ginger. I omitted the white pepper.

                                                                                I made mine 75% size to fit in a 5-inch across, 6-inch high apothecary jar. And got enough buildings & trees for two villages, plus a tin of mini-cutouts from the excess dough, so snacking from the jar will be encouraged.

                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                    This was only 4 hours start to finish, including an hour of chilling time, which makes it a practical recipe for busy folks. (Not counting the time spent shopping for an affordable apothecary jar - I used coupons at a craft/fabric store, and got a medium-sized one.)

                                                                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                      Trust me, if it was me doing it , it would be more than 4 hours! It looks so nice..

                                                                                1. So far I have 4 different kinds of cookies formed and frozen ready to bake. Can only find the recipe for one on line. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is baking!

                                                                                  Chewy chocolate gingerbread


                                                                                  Molasses white chocolate chip
                                                                                  Oatmeal chocolate chip
                                                                                  Peanut butter chocolate chip

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                    Molasses spice crackles with white chocolate chips - excellent

                                                                                    1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                      You modified to add the white chocolate chips? How much - a cup?

                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                        Yes, added the chips as a modification, I usually eyeball it, I think. 1/2 a bag, is that a cup? These are sooo good. Hope you enjoy.

                                                                                    2. re: geminigirl

                                                                                      Oatmeal chocolate chip

                                                                                      If I'm making plain chocolate chip I like the CI recipe, I especially like the recipe because you melt the butter rather then let it come to room temp.

                                                                                    3. is there a cookies 101 onlinne?

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                        JPR, Mexican wedding cookies that I posted up thread are very-very easy to make and are nice. A friend even made them for a bridal shower after tasting them. And Pine Time's variation with nuts sounds delicious. Give them a try and let us know how it worked for you. Do not know of cookie 101 but these are pretty much in that category :)

                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                          Like pine time, I've always known Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes as nut cookies, and have seen the nutless version called butterballs, but names aside, they're all variations on the theme and, as you say, easy. A few years ago, I turned to Chowhounds in search of favorite recipes on behalf of a friend, so I offer this thread to anyone looking, as it has links to several recipes and discussion/comparison: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/667601

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Okay, now I'm nodding--I know butterballs (not the turkey kind!)--hadn't really equated them as nutless Mexican Wedding Cookies.

                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                              I know them both as CAKES, not COOKIES, and I'm old, so I know ;-)

                                                                                              And yes, they both traditionally have pecans in them.

                                                                                              I have found that the versions that use granulated sugar in the dough are better-tasting.

                                                                                            2. re: herby

                                                                                              I am going to try to make them tomorrow

                                                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                Great! Do report - I am very curious how they will work for you.

                                                                                            3. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                              Jpr, this is the oatmeal chocolate chip recipe I've been making since I was 5 years old. It's pretty hard to mess up, and is very delicious :) I usually leave out the walnuts since I don't keep them around.


                                                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                follow my posts on this thread on how to make cookies. I've covered butter, next with be creaming

                                                                                              2. I just posted this to the appropriate COTM thread but am reposting here:

                                                                                                A Little Nut Cookie, p. 714, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

                                                                                                I just made these cookies for the first time and really enjoyed them. I used all brown sugar and a mix of walnuts, pistachios and almonds (mostly walnut and very little almond), as that is what I had on hand. The pistachios were roasted and salted and that turned out great! I thought the cookie dough was a bit undersalted, but the contrast between the sweet cookie and salty nuts was really fantastic. I made the cookies the old-fashioned way, in a single bowl with a wooden spoon, and they were quick and easy and very good.

                                                                                                1. Most of my cookie baking will be in the latter half of the month due to the holidays. But, these Gingerbread cookies will definitely be on my bake list. I was pointed to this recipe last year here on the boards somewhere and it was excellent. http://micechat.com/forums/micechat-m...

                                                                                                  I made both cutout snowflakes and smiley moose with the dough.

                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                      I love the scarves - I may try something similar on my gingerbread boys.

                                                                                                      1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                        Please do and report back! I love cookie decorating, wish I had more time these days to do it. For the red and green in the scarves, I used the premade "gel" icing stuff in the tubes... the brown was icing I colored myself using gel food coloring.

                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                          The gel icing! Thanks for letting me know - those colors do have that "shine" to them, but I probably wouldn't have guessed it was from the gel tubes. I have the cookies made & in the freezer (the spicy Martha Stewart recipe) and will be decorating soon. Oh - I use the same confectioner's sugar glaze as you do, but I never have much luck with royal icing.

                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                            Julie - if you don't mind, which brand of gel icing did you use? The scarves for my gingerbread boys ended up looking very similar to yours except the colors aren't as vivid.

                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                              Oh gosh I don't remember... it was whatever is sold at the grocery store I think? I had bought it a few years prior but never opened it. Nothing fancy at all. They came in little individual tubes.

                                                                                                              Another option is to use regular icing, and just use a TON of gel coloring (I use Wilton, purchased at Michael's) to get a really vibrant color, that's how I got the dark brown for the antlers, required a lot of the brown gel coloring.

                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                Thanks! Great idea, mixing the regular icing with the gel; I'll try that next time. It probably helps speed up the drying time, too.

                                                                                                        2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                          Just thought I'd share more of my decorated cookies... The first two were done on Christmas Day a few years back when I wasn't able to visit family. Took 6 hours and made a huge mess but I had a blast. I used royal icing for these.. easy to work with but I prefer the "softer" icings better for eating.

                                                                                                          The third was when I was visiting family... we limited the colors to keep it easy.

                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                            Yay, photos!
                                                                                                            What fun cookies: great decorating and colors!

                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                              juliejulez, those are beautiful, and I'm seriously jealous! What soft frosting do you recommend?

                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                I use one pretty much like this http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sugar-co... and just add a bit more powdered sugar so it "sets" more for piping. It works good as-is for flooding.

                                                                                                              2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                I have never had the time to decorate cookie since I make all 120 of my Christmas cards as well as New Year's Day invitations. But this year I'm ahead of schedule, and I might attempt some decorated cookies. These are very inspirational. BTW, King Arthur Flour is having a decorated cookie contest. Go for it, jj!

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  120 cards! You need fewer friends. (joking).

                                                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                    Yes, I know! And I always run out and have to make a few more at the last minute. Every year I say that I will make fewer, but it never seems to happen!

                                                                                                            2. I'm still playing with my new Oxo cookie press, so it's lots of spritz cookies here. Settled on a recipe using both almond extract and ground almonds, added with the flour. Absolutely delicious.

                                                                                                              Next: adding some chocolate to the batter and using the teddy bear cookie disk. Should be adorable.

                                                                                                              Next: Rudolph peanut butter cookies (a basic p'nb cookie. The decoration makes 'em Rudolphs: a red M & M nose, 2 of the tiny chocolate chips for eyes, and 2 broken Tiny Twist pretzels as antlers. They're standard at the Pine household for Christmas, and we don't even have kids/grands. I took a platter once to a neighborhood open house, where there were 4 little kids in the home, and they squealed, seeing Rudolph. Sealed it for me!)

                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                I have that press and think it's the best one I've ever used. Would you share the recipe? It sounds right up my cookie alley!

                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                  Sure, roxlet. Paraphrased from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook:

                                                                                                                  Holiday Spritz Cookies

                                                                                                                  1 large egg yolk
                                                                                                                  1 Tbl heavy cream
                                                                                                                  1 tsp vanilla extract (*see below if making almond cookies)
                                                                                                                  16 Tbl. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool
                                                                                                                  2/3 c (4.5 ozs) sugar
                                                                                                                  1/4 tsp salt
                                                                                                                  2 c (10 oz) flour (* see below if making almond cookies)

                                                                                                                  Oven to 375. If using cookie press, do not grease or line the cookie sheets. If not using cookie press, line baking sheet w/ parchment.
                                                                                                                  Mix egg yolk, cream, vanilla (*see below if making almond cookies), set aside.
                                                                                                                  Beat butter, sugar, salt until light. Add yolk-cream mixture until incorporated. Gradually beat in flour (or below's almond/flour mixture).
                                                                                                                  For spritzs: fill cookie press or use piping bag. (I add a touch of sparkling sugar to the pressed cookies.)
                                                                                                                  Bake 1 sheet at a time, until very light golden, about 10-12 min. Cool & transfer to rack until room temp.

                                                                                                                  *Almond variation:
                                                                                                                  Grind 1/2 c sliced almonds & 2 Tbl of the flour until evenly fine. Add mixture w/ the remaining flour. (I used a coffee grinder to do this--recipe says food processor. I've also bought almond meal instead.) Replace vanilla extract w/ 3/4 tsp almond extract.

                                                                                                                  **Lemon variation:
                                                                                                                  Add 1 tsp lemon juice to yolk-cream mix, and 1 tsp grated zest along w/ the sugar & salt. (Haven't tried these, but I made my own orange version--just be careful not to add too much liquid or they won't press properly.)

                                                                                                                  Happy eating!

                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                    Thanks so much! I think I might even have that book!

                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                      I just bought some cashew meal at TJ's and I'm thinking about using it instead of the almond meal. I'm going to make spritz cookies next week to bring to my son's team matches, but I'm nervous to make them with the nuts since you never know who has allergies these days.

                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                        You are right to be nervous - so many kids have allergies! Maybe safer without nuts and you don't have to think/worry/ask about.

                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                          Roxlet - I just bought the cashew meal too and your post was one of only 2 that came up in searching this ingredient on CH. If you used it in cookies, how did it perform? Interchangeable with almond meal? I know that ground cashews are part of Indian sauces like those in various Korma dishes but have no idea if it is specifically called for in other things.

                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                            I never got around to making the spritz cookies, so I didn't use it yet. Actually, you just reminded me! In the mad rush of the holidays, I had forgotten I had purchased it!

                                                                                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                              I used it to make the wedding cookies - little balls covered in powdered sugar. They were okay. I was surprised they weren't more cashewy.

                                                                                                                              1. re: cre8ov

                                                                                                                                I imagine the meal is from raw cashews? maybe toast it in a frying pan before use?

                                                                                                                      2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                        pine time, I was just in Costco and saw a big bag of ground almond flour for sale and thought of you.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Oh, yum, HillJ. All I'd need is a spoon!

                                                                                                                      3. Olive oil cookies http://www.thekitchn.com/olive-oil-co...

                                                                                                                        You'll find more from different Mediterranean countries if you can do a search in relevant languages. I found several in French (biscuits huile d'olive) and this "healthy" one in Italian:

                                                                                                                        http://www.cookingwithjulia.net/2013/... Not very sweet, like the sweet biscuits many Italians have as a tiny breakfast.

                                                                                                                          1. Looks like we're going to be snowed in this weekend, but I have flour, sugar, butter, nuts, chocolate, and coconut, so I should be able to keep busy. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                              Eggs! Stock up on eggs, I seem to be running out of them constantly. Made lemon curd tonight, just one batch, and 7! eggs are gone.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                If you have cocoa and baking soda - maybe Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies?


                                                                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                    I made 2 batches of World Peace Cookie dough yesterday. As Pikawicca said we were snowed in. I made gingerbread dough, pecan short bread dough, Greenspan's recipe for Midnight Crackles, 1 batch of bourbon balls (my DH is now in charge of finishing up the bourbon and rum balls). More to make today. Just waiting for butter to soften.

                                                                                                                                    The snow wasn't too bad. Having moved here from the Adirondacks it takes a lot of snow and cold to keep us inside.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                      Sounds like a VERY successful day. I would have made a double batch of the World Peace Cookie Dough, but found my cocoa canister only had enough for 1. Sigh. Plus I'm down to the last 2 tsp. of baking soda, and after using 8 C flour in the pfeffernuesse I've opened my last 5-lb bag of flour. So, back to the grocery store - again - and note to self: check container contents next year. Fortunately it's sunny out, even if it's minus 2 F.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                        I have to go to the store for more flour. I'd better buy 10 lbs. Probably more butter. I have Oberweis delivered but won't get more from them for over a week. Store bought butter will have to do.

                                                                                                                                        Spitting snow on and off. Time for a heavy coat and mittens!

                                                                                                                                1. For all of us striving for the perfect cookie -- or what WE consider perfect -- here's an interesting piece from NPR:

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    This is the coolest thing. Now if zi could nail M's childhood favorite called "Pfeffernuesse" but they're not, I'd be in like Flynn.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                      I love a puzzle - any hints on the Pfeffernuesse-but-not mystery cookies (our family recipe seems to be much less spicy than online versions so happy to share that if it might help).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                        It's a small, flat, fairly thin cookie (think 2 50 cent pieces -- presuming you remember them -- stacked) that either had ground nuts in it or didn't, and was either rolled out or a sliced refrigerator cookie. It was short but not crumbly and not very sweet. The closest I've come to it is the CI recipe for sablés with hardboiled egg yolk in them plus the recipe for browned butter cookies from 150 Best American Recipes made separately and mixed together, but that's too short and too sweet.
                                                                                                                                        The ladies who lived next door to his family used to make scads and oodles of them and bring suit boxes -- presuming you remember them, too -- full of them over, so I would at least HOPE they were refrigerator cookies.
                                                                                                                                        The closest German cookie I've found is Heidesand. I'm thinking they were basically these (but not quite, according to my husband) and that his father, who was raised in a German-speaking household in IL but really didn't keep his language up, called them pfeffernuessse because that was a German cookie name. Details, other than professional ones (he was an MD) were not his strongest suit.
                                                                                                                                        He was also the only one in the house who liked Springerle, which strike me as semi-edible Plaster of Paris (another thing you may or may not remember).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                          Recipe I posted above is from my Grandmother, who grew up in a German speaking household in Iowa. Sure sounds like we may have something close to what he's remembering.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately the one he remembers isn't spicy. (He grew up in small-town eastern Iowa.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                              Drat. I was thinking lebkuchen until you said no spice.

                                                                                                                                              I love springerle, but I do tend to dip them in coffee to avoid cracking a tooth.

                                                                                                                                  2. Does anyone make Springerle? I can't find my old recipe, and the ones that seem to be recommended call for baker's ammonia or hartshorn, neither of which are lurking in my cabinet.

                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                      My family recipe is the one from the 1960s New York Times Cookbook, which calls for neither. I can paraphrase it here if you'd like.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                        I just looked in EYB, and I have the 1961 Craig Claiborne NYT book, which does indeed have a springerle recipe. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                          I thought I was going to get to this today, but I worked far too late. I have found our old NYT Craig Clairborne cookbook, and I hope to start them tomorrow. We're once again away from home, but I brought my springerle rolling pin (with sadly simplistic designs) and anise seed, so we'll see what happens!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                            I've got springerle drying now. Most recipes predict at least 24 hours. But since we're currently at 94% humidity, I'm betting it will take longer. I wish I had better springerle molds or pin. I can't even tell what half of these things are supposed to represent. Also wish I had an electric mixer. This was an elbow-taxing dough job.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                              They look great. Kudos for attempting them by hand, that's a lot of beating!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                They do look great! Especially if you were using the rolling pin. I switched to using an engraved plate, never could keep the pressure even enough with the rolling pin.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                            Yes, it's been a few years but I use to make them all the time from a recipe posted on an old board. Shall I get it out for you?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                                                                                                              Just had to go look it up anyway...and realized that no, I didn't use that internet recipe, I used the one from Rose's Christmas Cookies. (most of the time anyway. The other recipe is pretty similar, I can post it too if you wish).

                                                                                                                                              Recipe is online here: http://community.kingarthurflour.com/...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                                                                                                                This is cool, with gold petal dust! I've never seen them with gold dust, do you use that?
                                                                                                                                                I used to "color in" all the designs with food coloring mixed with egg yolk, don't know if I'll ever have time for that again. At least not until I retire!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                  Never tried it with gold dust. I did try the egg yolk paint once but I don't have a steady hand, or maybe the paint was too runny. Anyway, I wasn't happy with how it looked & didn't try again.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                              I was just going to ask about these! Haven't made them in ages. Had forgotten all about the egg yolk coloring. May need to dig out the recipe. Thanks for the reminder, LNightshade.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                This is the recipe I have always used - it came with my springerle mold. The mold was made by House on the Hill, but I purchased it through Sur La Table and they sent HOTH's recipe. It seems that one teaspoon baking powder can be substituted for the 1/2 tsp.baker's ammonia (or hartshorn), as this same recipe is on the internet, with both leavening variations.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                  You can get baker's ammonia -- which is hartshorn, according to my German friend -- in Greek shops. Krinos (I think) packages it in little squat bottles like cream of tartar, speaking of which, I need and the Penzey's store in Grand central Market has closed :(

                                                                                                                                                2. This is the first time I'll be using this recipe but Rosy Levy Beranbaum's description of Cinnamon Cloud 9 cookies sold me. They're supposed to be crunchy, flakey puff pastry like, buttery, and melt in your mouth because it uses yeast as a leavener.

                                                                                                                                                  The dough is resting overnight right now in the fridge and tomorrow is baking day!

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                    Sounds so delicious I can't wait to hear about your impression of the baked cookie. Hurry up and post :) And I gave her book away! This will teach me not to downsize when it comes to books in general and cookbooks in particular.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                      After a night in the fridge, the dough was dense but had a nice aroma of buttery yeast. Using a cookie scoop, it was easy to handle, roll in cinnamon sugar, and onto the sheet.

                                                                                                                                                      20 minutes later, caramelized cinnamon edges and a slightly brûlée crust gave way to a flakey buttery interior. My daughter ate 3 right off the sheet! It's definitely unique and on my cookie plate list

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the report - I'll look into that one for sure!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                          I like how the texture is a crumbly interior from the yeast and yet it taste like a butter cookie.

                                                                                                                                                          I would say to bake this till it's borderline well done. This help get the caramelized edge but also allow the interior to become flakey crumbly. I allowed one batch to be a medium blonde in colour just to see how soft and chewy it can be. It wasn't soft or chewy ...more like a wet dense buttery squish. Taste great but not a good texture

                                                                                                                                                  2. I'd like to make meringue cookies; has anyone tried making them with molasses instead of sugar?

                                                                                                                                                    1. Dorie's Coconut Thins with lime zest, macadamia nuts, and a hint of coriander are in the oven. They smell divine!

                                                                                                                                                      1. Hi, as a side note, I am trying to think of a nice assortment to give as Christmas gifts to the ladies I work with. Anyone have any ideas for this? One will be shortbread, definitely, and chocolate is out for one of them, plus I don't think choc is a particularly Christmassy flavor. (Sorry if this has been covered, I'm posting on the fly and haven't read the whole thread.)

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          I always like to give molasses crinkles at Christmas.... the flavor is definitely christmassy and they're easy to put together, and travel well!

                                                                                                                                                          I stick with good old Betty Crocker, only change is I use butter instead of shortening:


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            This (no egg) Anzac Biscuit recipe is a wonderful combination of coconut & oatmeal. If you can't find Golden Syrup, honey would be my suggested substitute. The butter conversion is 4.4 oz, or a bit more than 1 stick. The temperature is 350 degrees. I use packaged raw coconut for this, not the sweetened "Angel Flake".

                                                                                                                                                          2. Reading all these posts about cookies has inspired me to shake up my christmas baking routine. How about a "cookies around the world" selection?
                                                                                                                                                            Any contributions or ideas? Alfajores from Argentina, anzac biscuits, biscotti, etc...

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                              These could represent Israel:

                                                                                                                                                              I *think* it's the only cookie I've seen that uses tahini. These halvah cookies look good as well:

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                If you want to hit Switzerland, try these Basler Brunsli. Highly recommended, very delicious: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7408...

                                                                                                                                                                For Germany, there are pfefferneuse, lebkuchen, and if you have the molds or rolling pin, springerle, as discussed upthread. And of course the little nut cookies that are replicated internationally (Mexican wedding or Russian tea cakes, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                              2. This year's holiday cookie collection (packed for transporting to a party tonight, rather than prettily arranged on a platter):

                                                                                                                                                                Lemon ginger sandwich cookies - a Chow.com recipe
                                                                                                                                                                Classic sugar cookies - the Betty Crocker Cooky Book recipe that my family's been using since the 1960s. When I have a little more time I'm going to post about my not entirely successful attempt at using all natural vegetable-based food colorings for the royal icing.
                                                                                                                                                                Salted nut brittle - from Food & Wine
                                                                                                                                                                Mint brownies - my own combination of two recipes
                                                                                                                                                                White chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies - a riff on the basic Tollhouse recipe

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cookie monster

                                                                                                                                                                  I've been looking for a good sandwich cookie recipe - lemon ginger would hit all the high notes in our house. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                    I really like the lemon ginger sandwiches - nice contrast to the typical Christmas cookie flavors. I follow the recipe as is except the 1 tablespoon of lemon extract in the filling seemed like way too much. I use more like a teaspoon and that's plenty to my taste, given that there's also lemon juice and zest.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cookie monster

                                                                                                                                                                    Every time I read this board, I get more ideas for cookies.. the lemon ginger sandwich cookies look great!

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Just saw this recipe, and these will definitely be made very soon. I'm out of eggs otherwise they would be being made right now! As a kid I'd sneak spoonfuls of brown sugar straight from the canister so these sound right up my alley http://cookiesandcups.com/chewy-brown...

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the link! Went to CostCo yesterday for an egg run, so these are on the agenda very, very soon.

                                                                                                                                                                      I still eat a spoonful of brown sugar when I'm baking stuff (or waiting for the oatmeal to cook).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                        I made these today, and after tasting the cookie alone, I opted to leave off the frosting. They're sweet, but not too sweet, which is how I like cookies. The texture and all that is great though. I've already eaten four of them.... they're all packed up now to go to my office tomorrow... gotta get them out of here!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                          I just looked at the link, and thought the recipe seemed awfully familiar. It's the merest adaptation of the Cook's Illustrated brown sugar cookie recipe (CI only brown 12 T. of the butter; otherwise it's just about identical). In neither this post or the prior one she links to from it did the blogger credit the source, I see.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Some may think these are trite and belong on the "white trash" list, but my family demands these peanut butter cup cookies every year:

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: OhioHound

                                                                                                                                                                          A woman at work makes a gluten free version of these, and everyone gobbles them up... including me!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                            kattyeyes is big on these. How could you go wrong?

                                                                                                                                                                        2. These "soft gingersnap cookies with white chocolate chunks" were also a hit last year:

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: OhioHound

                                                                                                                                                                            These sound delicious and I can almost smell them. Going on my list, thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. The soft gingersnap cookies with white chocolate chunks... forgot I had a picture from last year!

                                                                                                                                                                            25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: OhioHound

                                                                                                                                                                              Cookie time! This weekend I've made Mexican wedding cookies (polvorones), rugelach with mini chocolate chips and cinnamon/ sugar, and pecan shortbread squares. I decided to refer back to recipes this year (gasp!) and all are loosely based on recipes in Rose Levy Berenbaum"s Christmas cookie book. There's also a double batch of World Peace Cookies in the freezer, ready to be sliced and baked. Spritz cookies on the agenda for this afternoon. Whew!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: janeh

                                                                                                                                                                                I have to get that book out for a shuftie.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have Rose's Christmas cookie book too. I was afraid I'd given it away, but there it was, tucked behind another book. Any recipes from that book that you love?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have it but haven't really gotten into it -- I got it during the summer and it didn't seem terribly appealing then. Other people?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've heard good things about the three nut cookies and am going to make them when I get home. Her buttercrunch toffee is wonderful - I think it's the same recipe on David Lebovitz's site.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like the three nut fingers a lot, and I don't usually like the Mexican wedding cake-style of cookies. i'm not that big on nuts at all, really, but the 3-nut ones are really good.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also really like her peanut butter and jelly jewels. Great PB taste and I like the texture a lot - a little soft and chewy. I use my cookie press to spritz out the dough in circles (don't chill it first), then sandwich the pb cookies together with jelly or chocolate. Yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Macadamia maple bars (forget if that's the exact name) is another of my favorites. Can you tell I made a lot of cookies from her book? lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to dislike Mexican Wedding Cakes - and then I realized that many people use shortening, old pecans, and a ton of cornstarch in them, rendering them into what we used to call "sawdust cookies".

                                                                                                                                                                                          Fast forward to the same essential cookie made with good butter, no cornstarch in the dough, and fresh pecans. Yum, what a difference! These are also better after the baked cookies have aged a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, glad I've had a "good" recipe all my life! I've never even heard of cornstarch in Mexican Wedding Cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                              Claudia Flemings recipe has cornstarch. I liked it for a time, seemed lighter somehow, but then went back to my tried and true Chez Panisse recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                              This year a friend turned me onto a Stars recipe, from Emily Luccheti (sp?).
                                                                                                                                                                                              It is hands down the best version of this cookie I've ever had. No cornstarch.
                                                                                                                                                                                              I make with pecans or walnuts, depending on my mood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure! I will try to post it tonight or tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank! No rush, whenever it is convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Russian Tea Cakes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 oz nuts, toasted
                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 T sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 oz soft butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 t vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 c all-purpose flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/2 t salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1/4 c powdered sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                    >grind nuts with 2 T sugar (pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts are suggested) until finely ground.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    >paddle butter with remaining 4 T sugar, cream on medium for 2-3 minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    >add vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add. Add reserved nuts last.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    > bake on oarchment at 300F. I usually scoop these, and have done varying sizes. An average size takes about 20 minutes. While warm, toss with powdered sugar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    *i like to toss once while warm, and again once cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yields 3 dozen. Easily multiplied.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Eta: I don't measure the powdered sugar. I just put some in a bowl and toss. This amount seems like too little to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you! Sounds delicious, must try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If they have powdered sugar as an ingredient, they have cornstarch in them! I like the powdered sugar as the coating, but not in the dough...

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't made anything from that book in a long time, but I remember really loving the Biarritz recipe - very Pepperidge Farm-like.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your suggestions re what's good in Rose's book.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                                                I just finished baking cookies for my husband's office party tomorrow. I made the jam-filled thumbprint cookies and the chewy molasses cookies from the December 2013 issue of Bon Appetit, and the chocolate cookies that are featured in an ad in the December 2013 issue of Food and Wine. I chose those chocolate cookies because they have ancho chile powder in them. I ground my own anchos and added a pinch of ground chile de arbol for extra heat. I also upped the kosher salt from 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp because I think it will marry well with the dark chocolate and chiles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The thumbprint cookies taste great, but the thumbprints are not uniform in size or shape. I have really small hands and I had to widen the indentations or there would have been no room for the jam. Wish I'd had a thimble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The molasses cookies look and smell fantastic. I haven't eat any, so not sure how they taste. I have just enough of each, so I can't really spare any for sampling. I should try the chile ones, to make sure they aren't too spicy, but I'm not a fan of chocolate chocolate chip cookies. I'm going to have a friend taste the ugliest one in the batch. If anyone bothers to make these, note that if you chill the dough it gets really tough. I wound up having to roll them into balls. They were tight and didn't spread at all. Once they came out of the oven, I had to flatten them a bit with a fork, which looks rustic, but not spectacular. Oh well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm putting them in holiday-themed mini "Chinese" takeout containers. Hopefully I can fit one of each cookie type, plus a mini candy cane in each.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: soccermom13

                                                                                                                                                                                            Jumping in late but I do love Rose's Crescents and Lora Brody's Rugelach and make them both every year. The Three-Nut Fingers are also wonderful and are a great way to use up the different variety of nuts I normally have stashed away in the freezer this time of year.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                              Are the rugelach a PIA to make? My mother made them once or twice when I was a kid and I remember her cursing the cream cheese dough as being murder to work with. I should note that she was not a baker and only a serviceable cook. It wasn't her thing. I love cooking, but only like baking. I rarely do it, because my husband and I don't eat a lot of sweets. I typically only bake for the holidays (Chanukah/Christmas).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think rugelach are fiddly to make. I used to make dozens of them and still occasionally do. Recently I've used Ina's recipe and quite like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not to me, but I've learned a few things over the years to help myself out, such as weighing the dough to make sure I really do have four equal pieces, keeping my pastry cloth well-floured when rolling, and using a guide to roll each piece into a perfect 9" circle. What always drives me crazy is watching the apricot preserves seep out when the cookies are baking, but I bake them on parchment paper and when they are still warm from the oven I use a knife to sort of scrape the preserves back against the cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The cream cheese dough from Rose's cookies is easy to work with, IME. I tried another rugelach recipe once and had a hard time with it, but her recipe is easy to roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    in fact, the first time i made them was at a cookie-baking party. Everyone brought their favorite recipe. The hostess mentioned how much she loved rugelach and looked forwad to them every year. Later her sister was rolling out sugar cookies and exclaiming how easy the dough was to work with...and then we put the cookies in the oven and later discovered, the sister had grabbed the wrong package of dough from the fridge - she used the rugelach by mistake. The "sugar cookies" looked a little funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Half of the dough was still in the fridge so the hostess got to have *some* rugelah, at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gimlis1mum

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree, Rose's rugelach is both delicious and easy to work with!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Cookies, cookies cookies. The internet is abuzz with cookies. I have the tips & techniques to make the 1000's of recipes you find online work. So 1st cookie tip. Butter. Have your butter at about 66-68°F when you start to cream it. If it is mooshy it is too warm. If the stick of butter will not bend without breaking it is too cold. We want Goldilocks here.


                                                                                                                                                                                          1. If the butter is too warm you won't be able to incorporate enough air and your cookies will be flat. If you can squish the butter like in the picture, it is too warm. Tomorrow we will talk about creaming the butter and adding the sugar and eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Made my favorite damn oatmeal cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                              With vanilla-soaked raisins and cinnamon sugar topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                How long do you soak the raisins? In water w/vanilla added?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of raisins. So I soak in 1 cup of warm/hot water with a good pour of vanilla for about 10 minutes, then drain and add to the batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It really makes the raisins plump and fragrant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have you ever soaked the raisins in dark rum? That's our favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I just made a batch of Medrich's ginger cookies. Really, there are none finer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Cookie baking this weekend! My friend is coming down from DC to help me on Sunday. She is allergic to nuts, so I'll be making the pecan sandies tomorrow. She'll be helping me make:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    chocolate crinkles
                                                                                                                                                                                                    pumpkin-oatmeal with maple glaze
                                                                                                                                                                                                    chocolate-drizzled coconut macaroons

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've never made any of these. We'll see how it goes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Eager to get a recipe for the pumpkin-oatmeal if they come out - all of these sound wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT


                                                                                                                                                                                                        I honestly did not get a chance to taste them yesterday; once you've been baking all day, the results don't seem all that appealing. ;) My taste tester said they were the best cookies he's ever had, though. And his girlfriend said he doesn't even like cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I will say that measuring by a "scant 1/4 cup" gave me HUGE cookies - I ended up with 24, while the recipe states a yield of 32. I'd go with 3 or even 2 tbsp per cookie. I also had to add some maple extract to the glaze, as just the syrup didn't give much flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Saturday was crazy and pecan sandies never got made. Another day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chocolate crinkles - came out looking just like they should. All I was really tasting was the powdered sugar coating, though. I'll try one later today and see if I was just suffering from "cooking-all-day palate".

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pumpkin-oatmeal - I ended up with huge cookies, so I will definitely change the way I measure them next time. I didn't try them, but I got a thumbs up from the person who did. They seem to be very fluffy, cakey cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Coconut macaroons - I'm a bad person: didn't read the whole recipe before starting. This dough had to be refrigerated for 6 hours before baking, so they didn't go in the oven while my friend was over. I ended up only leaving it in for about 4 hours, and my cookies came out flat as pancakes. Having never made these before, I can't be 100% sure if that's from the shortened chill time, or if I did something wrong in the cooking stage. Those cookie pancakes were delicious, though, so I'll definitely be making them again, the right way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those all sound delicious. When reading/planning, four recipes for one day doesn't seem like too much, does it? Been there, done that! Even when you make a dough or 2 the day before for slice & bakes, it's a long day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Creaming the butter, part 2. After you get the butter smooth and starting to fluff, gradually add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. I used brown sugar in this picture

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Recipes are great, but you get better results when you know the techniques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Weighing the flour will give you more consistent & better results when you bake.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gently mix the flour into the creamed butter mixture. You don't want to form too much gluten and make your cookies tough. Also have any additions, like chips, raisins or nuts? Gently fold them in so you don't lose the volume you created by creaming or toughen the dough. Bake on parchment for easy batch baking & cleanup. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Does anybody have a recipe for a brown sugar pecan cookie that bakes up fairly thin and chewy? It was my father's favourite and I can't find my mom's recipe :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Macadamia coconut shortbreads are nearly half gone already. Recipe said use a cake pan for baking, but I used my shortbread plate. May need a 2nd batch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Almond cookies from “Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.” Not for Christmas, but to be served with lemongrass ice cream for a by-request Vietnamese dinner tomorrow night. Lightly crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside, and very almondy. These, too, are made with toasted, ground, slivered almonds along with the flour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No. The recipe you linked to is very different. Can't find Nguyen's recipe online. Let me know if you'd like a paraphrase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would love a paraphrase when you have time - thank you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Almond Cookies from “Into the Vietnamese Kitchen” by Andrea Nguyen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup slivered blanched almonds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ¾ cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 tablespoon almond extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1¼ cups AP flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ½ teaspoon baking soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ¼ teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ¼ tsp Caramel Sauce (optional; I used it; recipe follows)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            36 whole blanched almonds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Preheat oven to 350F. Toast slivered almonds, let cool, and process with 1 tablespoon of sugar until sandy in texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beat butter in an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat about 2 minutes. Add whole egg and almond extract and beat til smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and beat into butter mixture until smooth. Add ground almonds and mix well until soft dough forms. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make 1-inch balls of dough and place about two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each ball, reducing it to about half its original thickness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beat the egg yolk with caramel sauce, glaze each cookie, and place a whole almond in the center of each cookie. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, 10 to 11 minutes, until cookies have cracked on top and glaze is a golden brown. Cookies will just have a touch of color. Let cookies cool on the pan for ten minutes before removing them to a rack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Caramel Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Put ¼ cup of water in a pan with one cup of sugar and set over medium-low heat. Stir with a metal spoon until sugar dissolves. After about 2 minutes, stop stirring and let the mixture cook. At about 7 minutes the mixture will be simmering vigorously and will change from opaque to clear. After about 15 minutes, the mixture will begin to caramelize and turn to the color of dark tea. At about 20 minutes, when smoke starts rising from the pan, remove the pan from the heat and start swirling the liquid. When the caramel under the bubbles is the color of black coffee or molasses, plunge the pan into a sink of cold water to stop the cooking. Add 1/2 cup of cold water (the sugar will seize) and return the pan to medium heat. Stir until the caramel dissolves into the water. Let cool for 10 minutes and store in a glass jar. The caramel keeps indefinitely in a kitchen cupboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Caramel Sauce looks like a lot of work for just a ¼ teaspoon, but Nguyen says it’s a cornerstone of Vietnamese cooking and she uses it in many recipes. I’ve had mine in the cupboard for probably five years now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JoanN, many thanks for the recipe - I didn't realize that it involved so much typing - very generous of you! I put the recipe into my Pepperplate including your photo (hope you do not mind) and will definitely make it soon. Probably mid-January for my annual soup party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was wondering as I was reading the recipe if 1/4t was a typo :) Did the sauce really smoked as you were making it? Does it taste burned?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The caramel sauce tastes bittersweet, not burned. But the bitterness is definitely discernible. As for the smoking, you know how when you're heating oil in a pan and it just begins to give off smoke as it's reaching its smoke point? That's what it looks like; more like wisps of steam. And I had to be alert for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I forgot, until just know, that Andrea Nguyen has the recipe for Caramel Sauce with an excellent series of step-by-step photos on her Web site that show exactly what the sauce should look like at each stage. Could have saved myself a bunch of typing. ;-)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, this is very helpful - thanks again :) There is a trout recipe on the site using caramel and it uses 3T! Sound good too. OK, I am going to make the caramel sauce first since it lasts indefinitely. Will check Vietnamese Street Food for any recipes that use caramel sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, JoanN! I thought I was Officially Cookie'd Out, but now this is calling my almond-loving name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Spitzbuebe (Jam-Filled Shortbread Sandwich Cookies) I'm so happy I found the recipe online as it's from an old issue of Gourmet. The shortbread is super-tender, light, and delicious.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for the recipe link! These cookies look outstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're welcome! I use the Kaiser spring-loaded cookie cutter but it's not essential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I made Jam Thumbprints( delicate/delicious) for the first time. I have leftover dough and will post pics when I bake more. I want to try baking walnut cookies too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Raspberry Almond Shortbread Bars with the Raspberry Jam we canned this past summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thelilaclamb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've heard of Millionaires bars.. but never Billionaires! What's the difference?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Billionaire Bars have a layer of cookie dough on top of the caramel layer. More calorie laden goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Finished up the springerle last night. I painted them with egg yolk paint with food coloring. The colors are more pastel than I usually do, but I liked the look. The designs on the rolling pins are quite simplistic, so painting went very quickly. I definitely need fancy new molds by next Christmas!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you juliejulez! I had fun making them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What do you think of the recipe? I like that they never become rock hard (though they do dry out over time; can't help that without added fat), and that the dough has lemon for flavoring and the anise comes only from the seeds on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Today was my "mix up" cookie day... I did the brown sugar cookies listed above, and also sugar cookie dough, chocolate crinkle dough, peanut blossom dough, and still contemplating doing gingerbread dough. All will be stored in the fridge til next weekend when I bake them all up before we head up north for the holidays. Anyway, I thought y'all would appreciate this photo... a "working" cookie making kitchen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've done that too. It's a very efficient way to bake cookies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, my kitchen looks like this (but worse). There is not much point putting anything away this time of year..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah I am not doing any baking again til Friday probably, but everything is still all out...even the butter! I did at least take my dustbuster to the counters to clean up the flour and sugar that has spilled out... I do still need to use the counters to make dinner all this week :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Weighing the flour will give you more consistent & better results when you bake. Sift it after weighing with the baking powder/soda & salt so everything incorporates evenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hope you enjoyed hints for making all the cookie recipes you found here better. If you missed, any search this page for my posts. Thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cre8ov

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, don't let lack of a scale or a sifter stop you from baking cookies! Tested recipes from most cookbooks have considerable tolerance. The scoop/level way of measuring flour still works just fine (as it did for most of our grandmothers), and stirring together at least 1/2 c. of the flour with the baking powder/soda helps distribute it enough to get cookies that rise evenly. Not every cookie anyone bakes will be photo-worthy, but each will be enjoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are right, not having a scale or a sifter shouldn't stop you from baking, but just make sure you fluff the flour, dip and sweep to get a more accurate measurement. Bake away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I did a bit of cookie baking this weekend. For an event on Saturday, I made black currant almond squares from the link below. They are excellent, and were very well received.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also made three cookie doughs, which are now in logs in the freezer, and will be sliced and baked in a week: Two shortbreads (lavender with lemon zest and jasmine tea with orange zest), and hazelnut with dried cherry, which has ground hazelnuts and a bit of hazelnut oil. The hazelnut ones were a bit of an experiment, so I had to bake up a few, and they're great - buttery with lots of hazelnut flavor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wasn't giving any cookies before today, so I finished up my baking Monday and Tuesday. I made almond macaroons and also sliced and baked my three doughs from the freezer and packaged it all for wrapping up. (I like to bag each type separately so the flavors stay distinct, plus it makes it easy to pop them in gift bags or boxes.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Snow day! I'm making Dulce de Leche Bars and Cocoa (Chocolate) Olive Oil Crinkle Cookies. Both are recipes I found on this thread so thanks to whoever posted them. Will follow up if there's anything of interest to report about them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They came out great so thanks to the posters!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. All my cookie doughs are shaped into cookies and are at the ready in double-Ziploc bags in the freezer. This Sunday and Monday my daughter and I will be placing the cookies on sheets to bake. So far I have: Corn Cookies; Compost Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Cookies and Chocolate peanut Butter Cup Cookies. I still have to make my biscotti, macaron, and my madelienes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                then it it on to the Buche de Noel, a Nougatine and frozen Chocolate Mousse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Cinnamon + brown sugar biscotti.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Managed to only crack one during cutting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dipped a few in white chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And they're already gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Look very nice.. where is the recipe from?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a nothingswrong original recipe :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the best type! Would you be willing to share..?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yep! You can sub in butter for the oil if you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CINNAMON & BROWN SUGAR BISCOTTI

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Makes about 12

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -2 tbspns. + 2 tspns. vegetable oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1/3 cup white sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1 egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1 tspn. vanilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1 cup + 1 tbspn. flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -pinch of salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1 tspn. baking powder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1/3 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -1/4 tspn. cinnamon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -white chocolate for dipping (optional)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mix oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix thoroughly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Form dough into a 1/2" thick rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mix filling ingredients, then sprinkle evenly over dough. Pat down lightly to adhere. Fold dough in half lengthwise to enclose filling and pinch edges together to seal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Transfer parchment to baking sheet, and bake @ 375 about 25 minutes, or until set and lightly browned on top (as in first photo).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Slice log into 12 biscotti with a sharp knife. Arrange slices on baking sheet and return to oven for 6-10 minutes more, flipping once. Let cool on wire racks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Melt white chocolate (if desired) and dip or drizzle biscotti. Let sit until set.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Time to nominate January Dish of the month. The nomination thread is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/928363

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I can't find the winning cookie for December 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have the Gourmet Cookie Book, going through the various decades of cookie trends. It's been fun munching along to whatever was in trend back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. OK, this is my last cookie this year. I think. My hands are cramped and I'm packing up to get out of town. Made eggnog cookies with rummy frosting. They actually do taste rather noggy. Buttertart mentioned a cookie that had hard-boiled egg yolks, which I had never heard of. But these had the same ingredient, which really kicked in the eggy flavor.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beautiful. Such patience needed to roll/cut/ice and decorate! Safe travels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The CI sable recipe has a hb egg yolk in it. They don't taste very eggy, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So pretty! I've come across spritz recipes that called for hard-boiled egg yolks but never tried them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Serious question...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How are you all done with your Christmas cookie baking already? Are your cookies already handed out, or are you freezing your dough?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd love to get my cookies done this weekend but don't want to serve dried out cookies on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have a few that are not "sturdy." Sugar cookies would be okay til then, biscotti, etc. but what about the delicate ones?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I mixed up all of my doughs a week ago and refrigerated. Today I'm baking them all off. I chose sturdier cookies on purpose because we are hitting the road tomorrow so I knew I wouldn't really have the option of making them immediately before Wednesday. Save the delicate stuff for when you know you have time to do them and are not rushing through it and stressing out. Maybe call them "New Years" cookies instead? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Okay, that's what I was wondering. Thanks for the answer! I'm planning on mixing my doughs up tomorrow and then baking what will last, and waiting 'til Tuesday to bake the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I too chose more sturdy, freezable and/or durable cookies (e.g. pfeffernuesse). For the slice & bake, I baked the day before packing to ship. Most of mine that I kept here at home were frozen after I baked them. I shipped to family last Monday, with instructions to enjoy now or freeze some to keep them fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. I started my cookie-baking today with angenetta and these pecan bars from Martha Stewart:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomorrow I will make ginger cookies, spritz cookies plus two requests from my son that I am still searching for recipes for: something with cinnamon, and a chocolate mint cookie. For the latter, I may go with some sort of thin mint clone, but I'm not sure yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These are a good chocolate mint cookie, though I skipped the chips (they're plenty chocolaty already): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The snickerdoodles in the CI baking Bol are cinnamony...and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wonder is anyone knows why are they called "snickerdoodles" ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's supposed to be a corruption of a German name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't think I've ever had snickerdoodles, If I have extra time----Otherwise a New Year cookie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            thank you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I've finished up my baking pretty much. I did peanut blossoms and chocolate crinkles... no photos of those because, well, everyone knows what those look like!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also tried out a new recipe for sugar cookies... one from Martha Stewart. I was kind of disappointed, they turned out kind of crumbly and not easy to work with. Also baked for the prescribed amount of time and they turned out way too crispy for my liking. So, I'll probably take them where I'm going and see if the kids want to decorate them, but overall, not going to do much with them. Next year I'll go back to Alton Brown's recipe, that I know works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. This year I chopped dried apricots fine in the Cuisinart and added a lot of them to a butter cookie dough, with lemon rind for flavoring, and made them into soft drop cookies. I cannot convey how good they are. The tartness of the apricots plays off the richness of the cookie. I have devoured the whole batch and am going to bake some more tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Could you share the butter cookie recipe and the amount of dried apricots and lemon zest that you added? They sound delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm attempting to make cookies Monday after landing back on the west coast after a week away. I have a six month old, very little time and a tree, house and yard to finish decorating plus some presents to buy and wrap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd very much like to make this cookie. It sounds wonderful and relatively easy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wonder if I could make a batch with prunes as well?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In any case, I'd love the recipe Querencia!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I made the Chocolate-Pistachio Sables from Epicurious (via Bon Appetit): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They're awesome... I don't want to share.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next time I will chop the nuts and chocolate (chips) in the food processor to get them a bit smaller. Big chunks made it hard to slice the cookies thinly enough - I got about 3 dozen, not 8. They also don't spread very much (I am not experienced with homemade slice-n-bake cookies) and so it was a bit hard to tell when they were cooked completely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Really pressed for time this year. But I made two batches of good cookies. The first, Double Chocolate Mocha cookies and my faves, Mexican Wedding Balls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am giving small plates of these to family members.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wanted to make Thumbprint cookies, but I simply ran out of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lucky family to get those two great ones. There's never enough time to make every cookie we want. My baking-buddy friend has narrowed her list by convincing her daughters that Thumbprint cookies are fun for Valentines Day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Dear LN,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know some of the COTMers have mentioned that this was too broad a topic but it really helped me, a novice baker, to make get baking! If this had involved a cookie press or a filled cookie I probably would have passed and made my usual store bought cookie dough and decorations that look better than they taste and possibly one cocktail cookie. As it was I made three cookies and a bar recipe from scratch so thanks to everyone who voted for COOKIES!