Cowboy Cookies

I know that these cookies look like they’re for kids because of the bright colorful M&Ms.  Well forget the kids, the adults love this cookie too!  They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, my favorite.  The candy shell also gives it a nice crunch and the oats give it a great chewy texture.

I adapted this from a cookie jar mix recipe.  It is a beautiful  way to give a gift and even better because they taste amazing!!

Cowboy Cookies

Adapted from Bakerella

 

1/2 cup softened butter  (1 stick)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cooking oats

3/4 cup M&Ms

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, blend the butter until soft.  Add egg and vanilla, then the sugars and blend well.  Next pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and blend until everything is incorporated well.  Use a #30 scoop or roll the cookie dough into 2 inch balls.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-13 minutes.

Yields about 24 cookies.

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Salted Toffee Brownie Cookies

Don’t make these cookies the way I did.  I know that sounds weird, but please heed my warning!  Actually, everything about this cookie was great except………I put WAY too much sea salt on them.  I forgot that sea salt is much saltier than normal table salt, hence do not overdo the salt on these cookies!! I beg of you.

Mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

Dump in the melted chocolate and butter.

Lick the chocolate bowl when no one is looking.  I won’t tell!

Blend in the dry ingredients.

I used an ice cream scoop and then pressed the cookie batter down for even cooking.

Do you see the amount of salt on here?  Use half as much as this.  Trust me.  Mother knows best.

This brownie cookie is delightfully light and not very sweet.  I love the surprise crunch of the toffee chips too.  It really is a good balance between brownie and cookie.  The balance of salty and sweet however, was way off.  Hence the warning.

Salted Toffee Brownie Cookies

From Kitchenist

makes 24

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup toffee bits
a few pinches sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/350°F. Melt chocolate and butter together, either in a small saucepan over the stove, on in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl (or using a mixer), beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the toffee bits- batter will be very thick.
4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 to 2 inches apart. (These cookies will not spread much.) Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the top of each cookie, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The tops of the cookies will be shiny, crackly and brown, like a brownie. Cool on a wire rack.

Royal Icing

Royal icing is so easy to make and really fun to work with.  The trick is in the consistency of the icing.  This icing is used to decorate cut out sugar cookies and will dry hard.  That makes it easy to package up and give as gifts.

I used royal icing on my spring sugar cookies, Easter cookies and butterfly cookies.

I used a #2 piping tip on these pastry bags.

Whisk together water and meringue powder.

Add in the cream of tartar and all the powdered sugar.

With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, mix until completely incorporated.

Add water one teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  You need thicker icing for outlining and thinner for flooding.  When I say thick icing, use the 10-second rule.  That means that if you draw a knife across the top of the icing, it should come together in about 10 seconds.  A thinner icing follows the same rule, but should come together in 5 seconds.

If your icing is too thin, just add more powdered sugar.  If it’s too thick, add more water.  Pretty simple.

Separate into smaller bowls and add in the food coloring.  Just one drop of the Americolor brand food color goes a long way.

One drop will give you a pastel color, more will make the color darker and intense.

I like to put my piping bag, fitted with a tip into a tall glass.  It makes pouring the icing into the bag so much easier.

This icing is used mainly for decorating cut out sugar cookies, but can also be used to adorn a cake or cupcake.  To use it on a cake, you will pipe the design out on wax paper and allow it to dry completely.  The shape should just peel off and you can add to your cake.

Royal Icing

From sweetopia.net

3/4 cup warm water

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

2.25 lbs. powdered icing sugar (3¾ cups per pound)

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Spring Decorated Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies is my way of releasing my inner artist.  With a paper and pencil, my best work could rival a 5-year old’s stick person drawing.  But, for some reason a sugar cookie gets my creative juices flowing.  Maybe it’s knowing that I get to eat the tasty art that makes it more appetizing (a little pun intended!).

Regardless, these are my canvases and I love to paint with royal icing!

This cupcake cookie cutter is one of my prized cutters.  It’s a copper one, given to me by a dear friend.  Thanks Vali!

Here are some pretty pink flowers with yellow middles, sprinkled with clear sanding sugar for shine.  This flower cookie cutter is from Wilton.

Butterflies are pretty for the spring.  This butterfly cookie cutter is also a Wilton.

Step one to making the cookie dough is creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix until completely incorporated.  After that come the eggs and vanilla.

Sift in the dry ingredients.

Mix until the dough comes together.

Separate into two flat rounds.  Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

I like to roll on parchment paper with some flour and use half a disc at a time.

Cover with another piece of parchment paper and roll away, to about 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick.

This is my favorite cupcake cookie cutter from Sur la Table.

Cut out with any shape cutter and set onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Refrigerate again for about 15 minutes and then bake it off.

If this is your first time making cut out cookies, you should consider splitting it into two days.  It is quite a time-consuming baking project.  Keep in mind that you still have to make the royal icing too.  Those directions will come in my next post.

Sugar Cookies

From sweetopia.net

2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)

5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1.  Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2.  Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3.  Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.

4.  Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5.  Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6.  Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7.  Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8.  Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9.  Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10.  Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11.  Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!



Easter Egg Sugar Cookies

Luckily for us, the Jewish calendar is giving us a really late Easter this year.  It’ll give you a chance to make these cookies and be a cookie decorating pro in just 3 weeks!

I used Wilton’s comfort grip cookie cutter for these and they are the perfect size for your canvas of creativity.  The decorating options are endless.

Here I dabbled with a tiny star tip for the pink flowers and a circle tip for the dots and writing.

 

 

I added some clear sugar sprinkles for shine.

 

 

This cookie uses a really fun technique of piping horizontal lines, alternating in pink and yellow.  While still wet, I dragged a toothpick up and down across the lines to create the marbled affect.

One of my favorite sites for cookie decorating inspiration, Sweetopia has a wonderful step-by-step tutorial for marbling.

 

 

Can you tell I like the star tip?  It just gives great 3-D texture and who can resist tiny little flowers?

One year after making and giving these as gifts, people still remembered these cookies.  There’s nothing like a homemade gift to make your friends feel special!  So this Easter, go out and make some of your friends feel special already!

Of course, don’t forget to keep some for yourself too.

The cookie and royal icing recipes are the same as my butterfly sugar cookies.

Butterfly Catcher

There’s nothing more festive than baking and decorating Easter cookies in the spring time.  Easter is a celebration of renewal and new life.  These butterfly cookies are also a vibrant reminder that butterflies will soon be flying around my garden  again.

Here I tried to capture the bright colors and symmetrical patterns that God so lovingly bestowed upon the beautiful butterfly.  I’m sure you’ll find that decorating these cookies are almost as good as eating them!

Try these this Easter and I’m sure you’ll have friends and family ooing and awwing over your work!

 

Sugar Cookies

From sweetopia.net

2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)

5 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.

4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready.  It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

Royal Icing

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Oatmeal Scotchies

For those of us moms whose children go to school, the best conversations are had at drop off and pick up times.   You moms out there know what I mean, right?  Well, this cookie started as a conversation at school.  A mommy-friend, Jennifer said she just had the best cookie of her life, these oatmeal butterscotch cookies.

After weeks of prodding, I finally broke down and decided to give them a try.  The recipe is very easily found on the back of the Nestle butterscotch chips bag.  This was actually my first time ever buying and using butterscotch chips.

These cookies came out beautifully crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  The smooth and toasty butter flavor paired well with the nutty oatmeal texture.

The only alteration I made to the recipe was using 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal instead of 3.

Give it a try and see if it sparks a conversation at your kids’ school!!

 

Oatmeal Scotchies

From Nestle Toll House

 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½  cups quick or old-fashioned oats

1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I mention in my About page that I am a staff advisor for a college student club.  Well, I was asked by my students to make some items for a bake sale to raise money for a homeless ministry that some students started.  The first thing I thought to make was these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Why?

Because we all know how unhealthily college students eat, right?  I figured, if I could get some oats and fiber into these students, this would be the way to do it!

Sorry, it’s the mom in me.  I can’t help it!  I did add chocolate chips in there to make it go down easier.

I heard they were a hit, so I guess it worked.  Mission accomplished!

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla in a mixer until well blended. In a medium bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon then mix with a whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, stirring until just combined.

Fold in rolled oats and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies with a #30 scoop.

Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies

I think a great way to jazz up anything is to dip it in chocolate!

If you are not the baking type, this would be a great solution to an easy Valentine’s gift.  This would be great for teachers, co-workers, or your sweetie (of course)!

I just unwrapped a bunch of fortune cookies, dipped them in some melted semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled then with Valentine’s sprinkles.  Place them on parchment paper to dry and they’ll be ready in about 30 minutes.

You can get pretty creative with this idea.  You can use colored candy melts or use different colors or shapes of sprinkles.  The possibilities are endless.  This is also a fun one for kids to help you with.

Try them out this Valentine’s Day and I’m sure everyone will fall in love…………………………….with these cookies!

Madeleine Cookies

I must thank my friend Ryan, who is the reason behind these madeleines.  Let me explain.

I do not like unitasking tools – a kitchen gadget that is only good for one purpose.  Some examples are an avocado knife, waffle iron and the madeleine pan.

So, why do I have a madeleine pan, you are asking?

It was a gift from a generous friend.  Ryan asked if I’ve ever made these cookies before and I hadn’t.  I told him of my dislike of unitaskers, so he agreed to buy me a pan if I would make madeleines for him.  I thought that was a great deal………and so did he!

My new motto is: “Will Cook for Kitchen Gadgets”

A quick note about the plate: I found it at an estate sale in my neighborhood marked for 25 cents.  The two ladies selling it were arguing about how the price was marked incorrectly and should have been more.  But, they gave it to me for the sticker price anyway.  I got home and Googled it and found out that this Spode China, named “Chinese Rose” was worth about $20!!  Gotta love a bargain!

So, here we have four large eggs.

Beat them until they have doubled in volume.

Next, add sugar and continue beating until you get this ribbon consistency.  The whole idea behind this is that you want to incorporate lots of air into the batter to make these cookies light and fluffy.

Zest one large lemon.  This is a meyer lemon from my backyard, but you can use a regular lemon.

Sift the flour into the batter and fold it in with your spatula, making sure not to stir.  Folding minimizes the air loss in the batter.

After I took this picture, I strained the butter through a paper towel, so that the butter solids stay out of the batter.

Here are these delectable cookies.

But, this is not the pretty side……..

THIS is!!!

I just love the golden brown color.  The shape is so unique too.  My first bite was heaven!  I could hear my teeth bite through the crunchy edges and next I tasted the butter.  As I started to chew, the subtle lemon flavor hit my tongue. The texture is also light and fluffy, the air trapped in the batter sure did its job.

These would be lovely to share with a friend over a cup o’ tea!!

Or, you can just shove them in your mouth while standing over the sink…………..what?!

Madeleines

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
cooking spray
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
a pinch of salt
2/3 cups sugar
zest of one large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Strain (using a paper towel over a mesh strainer) – you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.

While the melted butter is cooling, to grease the madeleine molds – get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour, or you can skip this process if you have a nonstick pan.

Put the eggs with the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until thick – you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume – approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. Now with a spatula, fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).

Sift the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture, only stirring enough to bring everything together.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 full.

Bake the madeleines for 12 – 14 minutes (7-10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines.