Chewy Chocolate Cookies

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Nora and I made a new recipe for chocolate cookies that will be one we consider a keeper!   This is for all the chocolate lovers in our family and yours!  Double chocolate, the taste is deep and rich.  Bake them longer if you want a crisp cookie, but they are best when you watch your baking time carefully and take them out when they are soft and puffy. They flatten as they cool, rich and chewy. Very much like a brownie in a cookie!  There are many recipes similar to this online and in cookbooks. Some use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate chips.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 14cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

34  cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°

In large mixer bowl; cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually blend into creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake only 8 or 9 minutes. Cookies will not look done, but soft and puffy.  LIft with a spatula and place on wire rack to cool. They flatten as they cool.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

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Candy Cane Cookies

CandyCaneCookiesCelebrations for Christmas and our wedding anniversary are always mixed together since Joe and I were married three days after Christmas in 1963.  That tells you that this year marks 50 years of marriage for us, so preparations for both Christmas and our anniversary are woven together in very special ways.  One of the ways is fondly remembering many of the things we have done together for so many years, and traditions we began to make our own as we started our family.  I can’t remember how many years we have made Candy Cane cookies.  The Betty Crocker recipe came from a magazine and is clipped and Scotch taped to a page from a small notebook I kept for recipes.  It has been used so many times it is yellowed and frayed, even missing some pieces.  It reminds me of the skin horse in the Velveteen Rabbit.  When our sons were small, they loved mixing and coloring the dough, shaping the balls, and then watching the strips lengthen as they rolled them on a floured tea towel.  As years passed, they became more creative and adept at shaping.  This is a fun family project!

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar, then mix with egg, almond and vanilla extracts.

Whisk flour and salt together and stir into butter and sugar mixture.  Divide dough into halves.  Mix 1/2 tsp red food coloring into 1 half. Working one cookie at a time, take a heaping teaspoon of each color of dough nd shape into balls.  Lay the ball of dough on lightly floured tea towel on counter and roll into strips about 4 inches long.  Lay strips side by side and gently pinch one end together, then twist like a rope. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove carefully while warm with spatula to wire rack.  You may wish to sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or crushed peppermint, but this is optional.

 

Salted Peanut Cookies

002Oatmeal cookies are a favorite in our house.  I don’t make cookies as often as I used to, and not nearly as often as Joe would like for me to, but I have tried a variety of recipes besides the tried and true Oatmeal Raisin.  This batch of cookies disappeared so fast I am glad I took the picture as soon as they were taken from the oven!  They are a smaller, crispier cookie than most Oatmeal cookies, and the addition of salted peanuts is definitely a taste treat. Of course, for those who have members of their family with a peanut sensitivity, the recipe works fine if you omit the peanuts.

Salted Peanut Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups oatmeal

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup salted peanuts (I used large Virginia peanuts)

Cream butter and sugars, add beaten eggs, and mix well.  Sift flour, soda, and baking powder together and add to creamed mixture.  Add oatmeal, vanilla, and peanuts. Mix well.  Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheets.  Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool.  Makes at least 7 dozen cookies.

This recipe is found in the cookbook published by the Richardson, Texas Woman’s Club – The Texas Experience, Friendship & food Texas Style given to me in 1984 by my dear friend Sondra Skaggs.

 

French Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream

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My granddaughter Skye, who likes to bake when she is at our house, told me she wanted to make French Macaroons.  I agreed with not a little trepidation, because I know that even professional pastry chefs label this little cookie “tricky.”  The following account of our adventures and first attempt may have you wondering if this was wise, but I assure you we had fun and finished by saying “Next time, we will know…”  And there will be a next time soon!  There are so many recipes and methods for making these little meringue based confections.  Skye likes Rosanna Pansino, a YouTube chef who details her baking videos clearly and always decorates her finished results cleverly.  I like to have a printed ingredient list and directions in front of me.  So we combined efforts.  Skye wrote down directions from her video and we used her handwritten recipe.  Recipe for Raspberry Buttercream follows below. Both recipes are adapted from Rosanna Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies video titled Kirby Macarons!

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French Macarons

Macaron is the French word for macaroon, but not to be confused with the cookie we know as coconut macaroons.  Macarons are one of the most amazing pastries, with hundreds of flavors and fillings. Macarons are made from almond flour and meringue, with even the pros admitting to failure on a regular basis.  Knowing this, we followed instructions closely!

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 cup almond flour

pinch of salt

After assembling the ingredients,
1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set eggs out to come to room temperature.  Egg whites must be room temperature, so if you have not set the eggs out earlier, put them in a bowl of warm water for at least 10 minutes before separating.

2. Separate eggs, reserving yolks for later use. Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. Add salt. If colored macarons are desired, add food coloring.  They will bake into a lighter color, so remember this when adding.

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3. Sift confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a separate bowl, whisk together,  and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 50 strokes.

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4. When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. If you do not have a pastry bag, use a ZipLoc bag with one corner cut.  Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in 1 to 1/2 inch rounds, leaving space between the disks because they will spread. When baking tray is full, lift it and tap on counter to release bubbles.   Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a skin on top, about 30 minutes.

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5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (140 degrees C).
6. Bake cookies until set but not browned, 25 to 20 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

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Cooks’ Note:  We thought we could grind sliced almonds in the food processor to avoid buying almond flour.  Wrong!  Two batches of almond slices turned into nut butter later, we made a trip to Whole Foods, where we bought almond flour in their bulk grains and flours section.  The second hitch came when we used the wrong kind of ZipLoc bag.  Ours was one of the standup bags, which had an altered corner that did not work well to cut for use as a pastry bag.  Skye did her best, but the mixture did not pipe out smoothly. Next time we will use a different plastic bag or a pastry bag, and we will pipe smaller flatter discs.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Mash raspberries through sieve so that you have juice (no seeds).  Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons and mix into butter and sugar mixture.  Place into pastry bag or Ziploc to pipe onto the flat side of one macaron and place another macaron on top.

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Caution:  We did clean up our cooking aftermath, but what a mess we made!

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Spritz Cookies

MaddieTeaParty 059My 10 year old granddaughter Skye has become quite interested in baking.  She turns out beautiful, delicious cakes. But she turned her talents to baking cookies last week as we readied for a visit from her aunt and cousins.  When she heard we would be having a tea party for Maddie’s 7th birthday while she was here, Skye wanted to make cookies that would be pretty as well as tasty, but Maddie does not like frosting (that is why we chose birthday cookies instead of birthday cake).  So we decided to bring out the kitchen tool which helps us make these shaped cookies: a cookie press.   A cookie press lets you change disks to produce many different shapes.Cookie presses work by pushing a small amount of dough through perforated plates directly onto the baking sheet, somewhat like a caulking gun. A ratchet-like press system means that the same amount of dough is used each time and the cookies are uniformly shaped. These can be made plain, sprinkled with decorations or sugars, frosted or dipped in melted chocolate!  We added food coloring to make ours pink and purple and sprinkled with some coarse sugar for sparkle.

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Using the recipe on the cookie press box, kye measured dry ingredients and whisked, then made a well for the vanilla and egg. She added the room temperature butter cut into small pieces
MaddieTeaParty 051Then she mixed the dough with her clean hands.
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Finally, the dough was colored and loaded into the cookie press and cookies were pressed out onto ungreased baking sheets.

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Spritz Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes

Important!  Let butter come to room temperature before making this recipe.

2 cups all-purpose or cake flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (almond extract can be used if preferred)

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces

optional for decorating

Colored sugar

Sprinkles

Frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then sprinkle over the vanilla extract. Crack egg into the center of flour mixture.then dot with the pieces of butter.

Mix everything together with your clean hands until it begins to come together. Do not to knead it too much, as you will then make tough cookies. You just want everything to come together so you can handle the dough.

 Put on the disc of your choice,  then load the press with the dough. Ratchet out the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. This takes practice, so be prepared to mess a bunch up at first. Just return the not-so-good ones back to the dough ball and use it again.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. These cookies will not brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle or garnish as you like. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move them to a rack. Let cool  before storing. They freeze well.

Yield: Makes about 35 cookies

Do you own a cookie press? How often do you make spritz cookies?