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No Fail Cookie Recipe Suggestions

So this weekend my sister is moving and I offered to come and help and bring some goodies for the moving crew. Last time I brought something for her they were brownies that were totally underdone in the middle--it was embarrassing! I thought they tasted good--but I was pretty much the only one that ate them--my brother in law passed around brownies from the grocery store as the best things ever. I'm not a great baker, but I usually can cook things all the way through!

In order to redeem myself, I want to bring something that will get a WoW reaction. My sister and brother in law are not fancy dessert people, and with moving I figure cookies are the easiest to eat with most things in boxes. However, I don't really have any fantastic cookie recipes of my own that I think would work. I was thinking a chocolate chip cookie and then something else a little different. I do have a lemon ginger cookie recipe that I love, and a different sister and brother in law liked them--but they are fancy dessert people.

So what I want is suggestions of good, basic recipes for your top two kind of cookies. Something that you've tried and had good success with. There are lots of recipes online and I have shelves of books, but I appreciate the wisdom of the boards here. I made the chocolate cake recommended here, and it turned out delicious!

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  1. Try these English Matrimonials. Everyone really does love them.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8540...

    1. Also, these Scandinavian Almond Bars are killer! I don't use the glaze. Plus I bake them a bit extra so they're kind of crispy.

      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/scandina...

      1 Reply
      1. re: kitchengardengal

        These sound delicious. May need to hit the grocery store!

      2. Try the recipe for oatmeal cookies on the Quaker Oats box. They have never failed and they are darn good!

        Rice Krispies treats come to mind, as well. Easy, no bake and delicious!

        You might want to try a quick bread as well, like zuchini or banana. I've used, with great success, a recipe I found online called 'Mom's Zuchini bread'. So good. I always add toasted walnut peces and a simple glaze. Mmmmm!

        I've done this before, providing cookies fr workers. They always appreciate it. Try to hae a supply of hot and cold drinks, as well, and napkins, too!

        Good luck!

        1. Super easy peanut butter cookies. I bake often, use recipes that can days if it's worth it, and was doubtful that these would be good but they are.

          Mix 1 cup peanut butter (commercial works best but all natural is okay), 1 cup sugar (I like brown for more chew but white is fine), 1 egg. Opt: 1 tsp vanilla.

          Roll into walnut shape balls, criss cross w/ fork. Bakie 350 for 8-10 minutes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            +1
            You can add chocolate chips

            1. re: magiesmom

              Yes, or dip them in melted chocolate after they're cooled. So good!

          2. I make this take on a rum ball called Mother's Little Helpers. People love them and they are no bake. the quality of the cocoa powder is important. I use scharffenberger or vahlrona.
            12 oz. box nilla wafers
            1/2 C cocoa powder
            1 C pecans
            1/4 C dark Karo syrup
            1/2 C port--I like Ferreira Ruby port but any decent quality port is OK. Serve port with cookies or refrigerate until you make them again.

            In food processor, chop nuts. Add cookies and cocoa. process to fine crumbs. pulse for sev. seconds. Add corn syrup and port in a stream while processor is running. continue until well blended about 15 secs. using hands form into 1" balls (mine are more the size of golf balls). rol lin powdered sugar. Store air tight up to 1 month or freeze up to 2 months (mine never make it longer than overnight :-) ). Just before serving roll in powdered sugar again if desiring snow ball effect. Can be doubled if your processor bowl is large enough. Otherwise, it's about 5 minutes to make another batch.

            Hope this helps.

            .

            5 Replies
            1. re: loriengelmann

              Your tasters' mileage may vary. Put me in the "no thanks" column for rum balls or ANY cookie that has nilla wafers combined with uncooked alcohol. I made some after reading rave reviews and was shocked to discover that I hated them (and so did my spouse). We tossed the batch.

              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                Pity you don't like rum balls. Thanks for the warm welcome to the community!

              2. re: loriengelmann

                My family always requests rum balls on the Christmas cookie tray. This looks like an interesting variation. Gonna try them. Thanks for the recipe.

                1. re: fleck

                  Hope you enjoy them! I have to confess that when my hsbd brings home unexpected guests (people visiting his work), I sometimes just toast pecans and put on a tray with dried cherries and good bittersweet chocolate. I serve some port on the side. Never had any complaints about that one either-LOL!

                  1. re: loriengelmann

                    Now that's a welcome-tray combo I can appreciate - which is why it's such a mystery that the cookie version was a bust for us.

              3. I am recommending that you get or check out of your public library Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours. Everything in the book has been well tested and the recipes all work, try the World Peace Cookies....chocolate with chocolate chips, and incredibly good. My niece told me flatly a year ago that she does not bake. I sent her the book for Christmas. She called me a couple of months later, excited because she had made cookies for the first time in her life..."they were good the whole family loved them."

                2 Replies
                1. re: Candy

                  Her chipster topped brownies are excellent, too, and a crowd pleaser. I like to replace the cocoa w/ flour in the world peace cookies. I love chocolate normally but like the nonchocolate version better. Both recipes are online.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I too was thinking of World Peace.

                    I use Maida Heatter's Original Toll House recipe. It's good with 50/50 whole wheat/white flour--nice nutty taste. I like them with lots of pecans, 11 oz. or so. I use good vanilla, chocolate, and butter, and people tell me it's the best cookie they've ever had, even though it's only chocolate chip.

                    Pecan shortbread is excellent and so easy, more than the sum of its parts (recipe I use is Martha Stewart), and I also like Martha Stewart's pecan-raspberry thumbprints. (Pecans must be chopped by hand, it makes a difference.)

                  2. Depending how hot it is, Toll House chocolate chip. We prefer them with half the chocolate and nuts as listed on the back-of-bag recipe.

                    And another vote for Quaker Oats Oatmeal Raisin.

                    Almond-flavor biscotti

                    For a moving day, you want sturdy, no-mess cookies that won't get tracked across floors/carpets. Consider making some 2-bite sized. The World Peace cookies mentioned by another poster are delicious but tend to make lots of crumbs.

                    Take a peek at the Dec 2013 DOTM thread - lots of great ideas and recipe links. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9263...

                    1. The recipes on the packages of Toll House chocolate chips and Quaker Oats are foolproof.

                      1. I agree with the Toll House cookie recommendation as simple and delicious. However, I also am wondering about your brownie fail last year. Brownies are among the easiest bake goods to make also. What recipe did you use and did you follow that recipe exactly? If it was a reliable recipe, you followed it, and they were underdone, I am wondering whether your oven temperature is off.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: masha

                          I was wondering too. Doesn't anyone use the old stick the knife/toothpick/cake tester in the middle to test for doneness anymore?

                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                            That test doesn't work well for brownies. Using this method results in a dry, over-baked product.

                          2. re: masha

                            I actually baked them almost twice as long as the recipe suggested, and I kept testing and testing them with a tooth pick, and they seemed like they were done. I probably would have cooked them longer, but I was due at the bbq so I needed them out of the oven. The recipe did say not to cut them for an hour so they could set, and I think we waited almost that long. The recipe said very fudgey, but these were over the line into fudgey/underdone. I did take the middle underdone part home and froze it and have been eating it for a while with ice cream, yum!

                            1. re: SarahCW

                              Have you tested your oven temperature lately? I don't test w/ a toothpick because they continue cooking after you remove them so I go by touch/appearance--the middle part is just slightly underdone when I pull them. But cooking for twice the time must mean either problems w/ the recipe or w/ your oven. You could do them in mini muffin or regular muffin tins--lots of crust all around that way.

                              1. re: SarahCW

                                Can you post the brownie recipe (listing the ingredients and then paraphrasing the directions so as not to run afoul of CH rules intended to honor copyrights)? It may be that there is something obviously "off" in the recipe. Where did you find the recipe?

                                1. re: masha

                                  I got the recipe out of a book--The Good Neighbor Cook Book, here is the paraphrase:
                                  1 c butter,
                                  12 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped,
                                  5 large eggs,
                                  2 cups sugar,
                                  1/2 dark brown sugar,
                                  1 tsp vanilla extract,
                                  3/4 tsp salt,
                                  1 cup flour spooned and leveled.
                                  Oven at 350, 9x13 in pan buttered. Melt the butter and remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool, but not all the way.

                                  With a mixer, mix eggs, sugars, vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy--4-5min. Fold in chocolate and then flour, being careful not to overmix. Batter is poured in pan, and bakes until toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs attached--25-30 minutes. Cool for 1 hr before serving.

                                  As far as I can recall, I followed the recipe exactly, except for baking them about 40 minutes and they were not done in the middle. I will say they tasted wonderful--I scraped out the middle part and rolled it in parchment paper and froze it, and I've been slicing off circles to eat with ice cream every couple of nights.

                                  It isn't my oven under bakes either--I bake bread every single week and I've not had serious issues with that. Though since I'm not a great baker I will admit that I had a couple of early loaves come out too early and were a little under--but for the most part I'm able to reach internal temp (measured with a thermometer) in my bread in the time specified in the directions I use (I've been using the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day method and recipes for my bread)

                                  1. re: SarahCW

                                    Obviously, if your oven works for bread, it's not the oven. FWIW, I compared the recipe to the Joy of Cooking, which is my go to recipe. Yours has twice the butter and 3x the chocolate compared to the Joy's for the identical amount of flour. (4 eggs in the Joy's to your 5, about the same sugar - 2 cups granulated in the Joy's).

                                    1. re: masha

                                      In re-reviewing the recipe you posted, I note that it calls for bittersweet chocolate (12 oz ) whereas the Joy's unsweetened (4oz). So the comparison I made overstated the variance in chocolate between the two. Still seems like yours has a very high fat to flour ratio.

                                    2. re: SarahCW

                                      Sarah, do you live where there is a Trader Joe's? I baked brownies from scratch for over fifty years but since discovering TJ's Truffle Brownie Mix, I use that---it has little chocolate chips of Belgian chocolate in it, makes up in two minutes, and is fail-proof. It's the only brownie mix I use.

                                  2. re: SarahCW

                                    The type of pan will yield different results ~ ie; metal, dark, light, glass, etc.

                                2. I love them, but I don't think anyone will be wowed by Rice Krispy treats. If you want to give brownies another try, people always go crazy for these: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-...
                                  It's really a cheater recipe since it uses boxed cake mix, but they are really good.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gmm

                                    There were recipes floating around for salted caramel rice krispy treats. People apparently went berserk over them.

                                    Could be worth a try.

                                    1. re: gmm

                                      People still love RC treats in my circles. Not fancy but still delicious. You can't go wrong with a classic and the OP said they are simple dessert people.

                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                        Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying people don't love them, myself included. But the OP also said " I want to bring something that will get a WoW reaction."

                                    2. Here's my vote for no-fail + WOW factor cookie: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk cookies . . . definitely use butter, not margarine! Also I usually add 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

                                      http://www.oceanspray.com/Recipes/Cor...

                                      1. These chocolate truffle cookies are always a hit - they don't look particularly "fancy" but they are really incredible - fudgy and awesome.

                                        Chocolate Truffle Cookies

                                        4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
                                        12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
                                        1/3 c. butter
                                        1/2 c. flour
                                        1/4 t. baking powder
                                        2 T. cocoa
                                        1/4 t. salt
                                        1 c. sugar
                                        3 eggs
                                        1 1/2 t. vanilla

                                        Melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 c. of the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk or electric mixer; add vanilla and chocolate mixture. Beat in the dry ingredients, then add the remaining chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed (dough will be very stiff). Chill dough for at least 3 hours. Roll cold dough into 1 inch balls. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and lightly set. Allow to cool on pan 3-4 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

                                        1. Everyone has their own opinions about cookies (or anything else!) that they like, but to me, this is the absolute best choc. chip cookie recipe, hands down. There is no other! The only thing I do is add a bit of salt (like maybe 1/2 tsp) to the recipe, add nuts, and use all vanilla, as I am not a fan of almond extract. You can also mix it up, instead of choc. chips, try white chips, dried cranberries and pecans, yum!

                                          http://www.food.com/recipe/soft-choco...

                                          1. These ginger spice cookies are terrific and easy (I use all butter rather than the butter + shortening specified): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              Those look so good, and I've been craving ginger cookies. I'm just not sure they would like them. Maybe I'll make them for myself or me and my other sister!

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                I make those ginger cookies every Christmas (and throughout the winter) and people go nuts for them. They always come out perfectly--chewy and spicy. I do use the shortening, which I think keeps them soft.

                                                I haven't read down the entire thread yet, but the Cook's Illustrated brown sugar cookies are also amazing, and pretty no-fail. (They also look like the ginger cookie but have a more universal and less wintry flavor.) Here's a link: http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/brown-s...

                                              2. I'll just say this, and it's based on years of trying to cook specifically to wow people (when I was younger and more naive), if you say your sister and brother in law are not fancy dessert people and didn't appreciate your brownie effort (how can anyone not like undercooked brownies? That's like not liking Julia Child's reine de saba or molten chocolate cakes, heaven on earth), then I'd focus on making one or two very traditional cookies, but extremely well done. Chocolate chip, oatmeal and snicker doodle cookies are classics. Keep it simple, and you won't be disappointed.

                                                Save the fancier efforts for people you know will genuinely appreciate them.

                                                16 Replies
                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                  I think that is spot on advice--the brownies were delicious, if undercooked in the middle. I just want to find some classic recipes that I can't screw up. The best chocolate chip cookie recipe and the best snickerdoodle recipe--because from where I'm sitting there are dozens and dozens of different options and I don't want to select a bad recipe and screw up something I should be able to do easily!

                                                  1. re: SarahCW

                                                    I was going to suggest snickerdoodles! They are my absolute favorite cookie, and whenever I bring them to gatherings or parties, people seem to eat them very quickly and remark on how underappreciated they are.

                                                    This is a recipe I've tweaked a million times, and IMO is flawless:

                                                    SNICKERDOODLES

                                                    Makes 2-2 1/2 dozen

                                                    -1/2 cup butter, softened
                                                    -3/4 cup sugar
                                                    -1 large egg
                                                    -1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
                                                    -1 1/2 cups AP flour
                                                    -1 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                                    -1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                    -1/8 teaspoon salt

                                                    Cinnamon sugar:
                                                    -3 tablespoons sugar
                                                    -2 teaspoons cinnamon

                                                    Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, then vanilla. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, then add. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

                                                    Meanwhile, mix cinnamon sugar in a small bowl.

                                                    Roll dough into 1"-1 1/2" balls with your hands. Roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing a few inches apart.

                                                    Bake @ 400 F for 7-9 minutes, just until turning golden brown on the edges.

                                                     
                                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                                      Thank you so much! I always love seeing your posts on the baking thread and while I've not eaten anything you've made, everything always looks delicious! I will be making these!

                                                      1. re: SarahCW

                                                        Thanks Sarah! And let us know how they turn out!

                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                          I wanted to make them tonight, but after making the dough I don't have the energy to bake them. Do you think they will be ok in the fridge overnight? I followed the snickerdoodle recipe exactly. I also made a half batch of these chocolate chip cookies http://www.food.com/recipe/neiman-mar... though I was less exact in following the recipe. I used 3/4 of a cup of both sugars, instead of a full cup, and used 1/2 cup spelt flour along with AP flour. I also omitted nuts and didn't grate as much chocolate into it and used a variety of chocolate chips--some milk, some dark, some big, some little, some white chocolate. I also toasted the oats in a little butter in a skillet before blending them. Yeah, so I'm bad at following directions.

                                                          Both doughs are in the fridge to be baked tomorrow. I'll post how they turn out.

                                                          1. re: SarahCW

                                                            Sarah, the snickerdoodles will most definitely be okay in the fridge overnight. In fact, I think they're better with a longer chill, as they will stay puffy in the oven and not flatten too much.

                                                            Chocolate chip cookies are always better with a long rest IMO.

                                                            Hope all goes well. Get some rest!

                                                            1. re: SarahCW

                                                              Never mind the extra chilling, if you want good cookie results, you really do need to follow a recipe accurately at least the first time. For the CC your reduction of sugars (by a quarter!), mix of chocolate sizes/types (uneven baking times), omission of nuts, and increase plus change of flour and messing about with the oats will give you disappointing flavor and texture.

                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                I understood SarahCW's post to mean that she replaced some of the AP flour with spelt flour, not added it. I don't think any of her changes doom the results. I routinely reduce sugar by a quarter in baked goods including cookies, as well as sub some whole-grain flour, to no detriment. Not using nuts and changing the type of chocolate chips will yield different flavor, but those are things that are down to personal taste; it's a chocolate chip cookie and varying inclusions is pretty standard. And toasting oats heightens their flavor.

                                                                Given the context of the thread, the bigger question is probably whether her sister and brother-in-law will like them.

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Normally I agree about not messing with a recipe too much, but I also agree that choc chip cookies are kind of endlessly adaptable. My go-to CCC recipes all start with 1 stick of butter and wildly varying amounts of sugar and flour, 1 or 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vanilla, etc.

                                                                  The subs Sarah made won't yield anything resembling the original recipe she posted, but I'm sure they'll still turn into CCCs. Whether her family will like them is another story.

                                                                  As to the snickerdoodles though, I've made them a hundred times and they will bake up just fine with a long rest. I think they're better that way, but most people don't want to wait 8-12 hours to bake off their cookies.

                                                                2. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                  One thing I learned early on is that cooking (where I don't even use recipes) and baking (where I not only use them, I follow them to the letter 99.9% of the time unless it's one I've been making my whole life, like Toll House) is that they are completely different beasts. Baking is very finicky, and so many recipes are just not that well-written. That's why I love Maida Heatter.

                                                                  Experimental, "creative" baking is an activity to be undertaken by experts ... unless the results don't matter.

                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                    I don't find you need to be that precise in baking. Making candy though is much more demanding and technical to get good and consistent results.

                                                                    1. re: divadmas

                                                                      You don't need to be precise to get good results but you do need to be precise to get the desired results. An extra half teaspoon of baking powder will make a big difference in the product. I add toffee bits to some cookies but also add a tablespoon of flour to counteract the fat or they end up flatter. They're still good when flat, just not my desired results. When making a roux, OTOH, a tablespoon extra of flour makes no noticeable difference.

                                                        2. re: SarahCW

                                                          Oh, also, these snickerdoodle blondies are absolutely to die for. I've had people come back for piece after piece, saying they don't know what's in them, but they are so addictive.

                                                          They're super easy to whip up. Taste like butter! They kind of puff up in the oven around the edges and they get this crispy caramelized crust... Very very chewy. I've never had a batch last more than a few hours at parties.

                                                          SNICKERDOODLE BLONDIES
                                                          Makes an 8"x8" or 9"x9" pan

                                                          -1/2 cup butter, softened
                                                          -1 cup sugar
                                                          -1 egg
                                                          -1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                          -1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
                                                          -1 cup AP flour
                                                          -1 teaspoon baking powder

                                                          Topping:
                                                          -1 tablespoon white sugar
                                                          -1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                          -1 tablespoon coarse sugar (demerrara, sugar in the raw, etc.)

                                                          Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, salt, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Mix flour and baking powder, then stir in. Spread in greased pan (batter will be thick).

                                                          Mix together topping ingredients, and use your hands to sprinkle all over batter, making sure to get some in the corners and edges (it will caramelize in the oven).

                                                          Bake @ 350 for about 30 minutes (the cinnamon on top will darken quite a bit). Let cool in pan, then serve.

                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                            This sounds perfect for a meeting I am going to next week!

                                                            Hate to be a dweeb, but do you use an 8X8 or a 9X9? I know it doesn't sound very different, but 9X9 is actually about a quarter bigger, and I assume would cook faster. I would just as soon have them come out right the first time so I don't end up eating the "failure"!

                                                          2. re: SarahCW

                                                            For something different along those lines, what about brown butter cookies? I like to add toffee bits to it but also increase the flour by about a tablespoon to account for the extra fat.

                                                            http://www.pardonthedoghair.com/2013/...

                                                          3. re: Roland Parker

                                                            i appreciate fudgy brownies but HATE those lava cakes. bleck. chocolate-flavored raw egg.

                                                            op, just use trusted sources for recipes and you should be ok. the faves like dorie greenspan, rose levy beranbaum, maida heatter, david leibovitz, joyofbaking.com, etc. have had excellent results with smittenkicthen's baked goods too. her blondies are infinitely adaptable and a common go-to for me.

                                                          4. So here's my report. The snickerdoodles were delicious and adorable--I made them small as suggested for grabbing. The chocolate chip cookies turned out good--I ended up making two batches after Midwesterner said the first wouldn't turn out, I did it again according to the recipe. Neither were bad, just different.

                                                            Unfortunately, right as I was baking them my sister called and asked me to come over ASAP. So I had the snickerdoodles and one pan of chocolate chip cookies. The rest of the dough is in the fridge.

                                                            Really I need to adjust my expectations, neither my sister or brother in law liked the cookies particularly, which isn't to say they disliked them, it was meh. My brother in law did the same thing he did before--pushing the package of grocery store donuts he'd bought on people. Even when the person was a 3 year old, where a small snickerdoodle was obviously a better choice.

                                                            Right now I'm pretty irritated with them in general. They had me come over at 10 to help them move, then asked me to go over to their new house with them and pick up dog poo from the previous owners. Then they left--leaving me there to work on it and clean some unspecified thing. I was there for like three hours alone, picking up poo and cleaning walls. The truck finally came and I helped, though they had plenty of people. I was there working until 5 pm all the while listening to them talk about how much money they are spending on everything. A new 2k bed set, a new 60 inch fancy pantsy tv, all new furniture, a new house.

                                                            My cousin said she liked the snickerdoodles a lot, so there is that. And the kids did eat most of them--even though my brother in law kept trying to convince them to have donuts instead. Honestly--if the donut doesn't fit in their hands, it is probably too big for them to eat!

                                                            Anyways, thanks everyone for the advice. I guess I should just try to be a better cook for myself.

                                                             
                                                             
                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: SarahCW

                                                              Helping anyone move is generally a thankless task, so just look at it as good karma for you and let it go.

                                                              I've packed for a couple of relatives who sat on their fannies answering emails while I did all the work. Now I know better.

                                                              1. re: SarahCW

                                                                Sounds pretty irritating! But I agree, just be glad it's over (is it over?!) and know you did a good deed.

                                                                The doodles look very cute! And maybe you can bake your extra dough and bring it to work where the effort will be appreciated.

                                                                1. re: SarahCW

                                                                  Moving is stressful. I'm sure the others enjoyed the cookies. If you don't want to bake the rest of the dough, make dough balls, place on tray and freeze. When dough is frozen, remove and put in zip lock bags and freeze. You have dough ready to bake (no need to defrost) anytime you want.

                                                                  1. re: SarahCW

                                                                    helping others move can be thankless although am not sure why you continue to bake for folks who would rather eat supermarket donuts?

                                                                    1. re: SarahCW

                                                                      Sounds to me like something is wrong with your BIL's tastebuds ... he may be completely conditioned to processed food. Something may be awry with his manners as well.

                                                                    2. Sorry to hear the actual event was so annoying but thanks for a great thread. Not just the recipes but the suggestions and tips. I'm in your camp with baking but spent last winter practicing and gained over 10 pounds but now I'm under control. I bake for church and the library and only sample one cookie. The cranberry white chocolate chip is on the list to make next, so special thanks to Mrs. P.!

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Berheenia

                                                                        I know I seriously want to learn to be a better baker--which is why I want to practice and try to find opportunities to make food for other people, but I have worked too hard to lose the weight I have lost to put it all back eating goodies! I should look into small batch baking or recipes that let me practice my skills without producing massive amounts of things that will go bad soon!

                                                                        1. re: SarahCW

                                                                          Freeze the dough as cookie balls or in a log. That way, you only have to make what you need.

                                                                          1. re: SarahCW

                                                                            i love to bake but don't have a sweet tooth, lol. so i just give everything away. neighbors LOVE me for it.

                                                                            1. re: SarahCW

                                                                              Agree that small-batch sounds like a good strategy for you. Perhaps try some slice/bake cookies? The dough for those can usually be frozen. One such recipe is this Earl Grey Tea cookie
                                                                              http://food.realsimple.com/realsimple...

                                                                              Also, baked cookies can be frozen in zip bags for months and the cookies keep their flavor. Some cakes, well wrapped, also freeze for a month or more.

                                                                              Since you don't eat sweets yourself, perhaps work on baking skills for bread / muffins / crackers. Those all freeze and could be enjoyed in small amounts with your meals.

                                                                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                Homemade crackers are delicious.

                                                                                Wrt precision, clearly there's some flexibility, because volumetric measuring works. But you really have to be an expert to just toss ingredients in a bowl while baking and get excellent, predictable results. My grandmother did this with her cloverleaf rolls, which no one could ever replicate. She riffed on the

                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                  I've actually been making homemade crackers for the last month or so--just using one basic recipe and experimenting with it. I find it to be much more forgiving than any other baking I've done, since I can change the flavor, texture, and doneness in between each batch I cook.
                                                                                  I've thought of trying some other recipes for crackers, but mine is so easy, and changing one thing or another has given me many different crackers!

                                                                                  I use about a cup of sourdough cheater starter, then add 3 tbs fat--butter or coconut oil or lard would work, but I don't have any lard, then add about a cup or so of flour, in 1/4 cups until the dough gets to be pretty stiff. I also add about 1/2 oz of grated parm, 1 tsp salt, and maybe herbs or seeds or whatever is on hand. Then it sits for about 7 hrs or as much as a week in the fridge. After that I knead in seasonings, and I roll them as thin as I can and use a pizza cutter to slice them, spray with oil and sprinkle on salt, and cook them on my pizza stone for 12-15 minutes or until they are done.

                                                                                  I actually love sweets, I just can't eat too much at once because of a sensitivity to fat, and a desire not to gain weight! I did freeze most of the dough, some of the cookies, and brought some to work. I divide my cookies into little baggies and eat a few each day.

                                                                                  1. re: SarahCW

                                                                                    I've noticed that Saveur magazine tends to give their cookie recipes in 2-dozen capacities. It annoys me because I cook for a family and at the holidays, for a large number of people and it's not worth my time to make only 24 cookies. But for someone who wants to bake a small amount at a time, Saveur's recipe catalogue on their website may be an ideal place to look for cookie inspiration.

                                                                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                      I've found that setting any cookie dough out on a baking sheet as if going into the oven, but freezing the dough instead works beautifully. Package the dough balls in freezer bags in one batch sizes, label with baking time & temp and you've got fresh baked cookies anytime.

                                                                                      1. re: Scoutmaster

                                                                                        I just keep a large zip lock bag so I can do as many as I want. And, I've discovered how good frozen cookie dough balls are...

                                                                          2. This recipe never fails to please, and they're pretty! Always part of the Christmas cookie platter and they're the first to go. FYI ~ They're fantastic straight out of the freezer, so don't bother trying to "hide" them in there! ;)

                                                                            Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
                                                                            Makes 36 (large) or 72 (small) cookies


                                                                            3 cups all purpose flour
                                                                            1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                                            3/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                            1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
                                                                            1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
                                                                            3/4 cup sugar
                                                                            2 large eggs
                                                                            1 tablespoon vanilla extract
                                                                            1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
                                                                            1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (about 8 1/2 ounces)
                                                                            1 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)

                                                                            Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment
                                                                            paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer,
                                                                            beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until
                                                                            blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients and
                                                                            beat just until blended. Using spatula, stir in cranberries, white chocolate chips, and nuts.

                                                                            For large cookies, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 21/2 inches apart. For small cookies, drop dough by level tablespoonfuls onto sheets, spacing 11/2 inches apart.

                                                                            Bake cookies until just golden, about 18 minutes for large cookies and about 15 minutes for small cookies. Cool on sheets. Can be made ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 2
                                                                            weeks.

                                                                            1. Have you tried Icebox Cookies? They are more no-fail than some other kinds as you form the dough into a little loaf and chill it hard in the refrigerator then slice it and bake the slices---a good way to start, for a cookie beginner. You will find plenty of Icebox Cookies recipes in any cookbook or online.