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Dec 1, 2013 12:51 PM

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 -

                                              or flavored coffee mixes - these by Heloise use dry milk not creamer

                                              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:

                                                            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. :)