Try These Cookies!

I’ve been getting cookie recipes galore in my inbox recently, and I really, really want to try some of them to review them for you. To start off December, though, I thought I’d point out some of my favorite cookies of the last year!

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread are the cookie featured in my header at the top of the page. They were delicious, simple to make, and look incredibly festive. I preferred them without dipping them in white chocolate, as I found the white chocolate sweetness ended up dominating the cookie.

Cookie Bars have always been a favorite. They’re delicious and easy to make. It’s simply graham cracker crumbs, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 bags of chocolate/flavored chips. Cookie bars are versatile; my favorite combination are semisweet chocolate and butterscotch, but you can use any other kind of baking chip you can find. I’ve had a little trouble with graham cracker crumbs not sticking to the rest of the bar recently; I might be packing the crumbs in too much to stick to the rest of the cookie bar. I always have ingredients to make these in my pantry.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are another awesome recipe I made this year. They were incredibly easy to make. They were also very rich. Imagine a butterscotch brownie (aka blondie) with chocolate chips, in a 9×13 inch pan. Yes, they’re awesome.

Hearst Castle Shortbread Cookies are what I’d make if I were going to return to a recipe for shortbread. They had a great texture, and making them was a snap with my stand mixer.

Speaking of shortbread, I’ve been thinking about Vanilla Bean Shortbread a lot recently. It was also very easy to make – you pat it into a 9×13 inch pan to bake it, then cut it into squares while warm. This recipe took both oil and butter, and cornstarch is the secret ingredient that gives the cookies their sandy texture. They’re also easily be made vegan since they have no eggs.

Try this recipe if you like extra-lemony Lemon Bars. They’re excellent.

Butter Tart Squares were great (and similar to pecan pie to me), but if you want something even better, way better, than pecan pie, you need to try Pecan Squares! It’s pecan pie on a shortbread crust, with honey in place of corn syrup for extra flavor. Pecan Squares were amazing!

[If you want shortbread with chocolate instead of syrup and nuts, you should try Toffee Bars instead. They’re also pretty easy, and delicious!]

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies are another cookie I’ve been thinking of recently. They’re basically a chocolate Snickerdoodle. The pinch of chili pepper adds a nice warmth to the cookie, but they’d be good even if you omitted it. It was truly a great cookie.

If you’re in the market for brownies instead, I recommend these or these. (You can read about comparisons of the brownie recipes in my post about the brownie taste test!) If you want something a little different, Espresso Brownies were also rich but delicious.

I may make Lebkuchen (German honey-spice cookies) again this year. This recipe is work-intensive, unlike the others I’ve listed. I liked this recipe more than a recipe I’d previously used. Lebkuchen just scream Christmas to me, and that’s why I include it here. This recipe makes bars rather than rounds, which makes it a little easier.

Now that I’ve taken a trip through the best cookie recipes in my blog, I’m ready to bake! Aren’t you?

Mmm brownies

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a new recipe, and I promise I’ll be more prompt now that I’m nearly done with the class I was taking for kicks.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share what I made tonight – a favorite I discovered last year. I know I’m not the only one who’s been really, really wanting chocolate recently. Best Cocoa Brownies are the cure.

Want something to make for Valentine’s Day?

I really, really, really wanted to make something to take to work tomorrow for Valentine’s Day. I’d planned on it for a while, since it’s an excuse for me to bake or cook something fun.

I figured I would make cupcakes. There’s a Betty Crocker calendar at work, which had a picture of a cupcake frosted with soft pink frosting and pearls. The picture keeps staring at me, and I want to make that cupcake. That’s more or less what I figured I would make and take in tomorrow. I could make a fluffy strawberry cupcake with white, or even pink, frosting, and plop little non-pareils on them. Cupcakes are perfectly portioned so that you can have just one – and if you really think that’s too indulgent or there’s other snacks around you want to try too, you can easily cut them in half.

Honestly, though, I really don’t feel like baking. I don’t feel like making cake batter, and portioning it out, and making frosting, and decorating things. I don’t even feel like going and making a batch of brownies to sprinkle red sugar crystals on. I’ve tried talking myself into it, but I simply can’t make myself. Luckily, I don’t have to.

So, while my coworkers don’t get any homemade treats from me tomorrow (and I’m sure that I’ll wish tomorrow that I had baked tonight), I thought that I could just write a little bit about what I’ve made that I would possibly make again for tomorrow.

I think that the White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies, currently my picture at the top, would be excellent for sharing for Valentine’s Day, or even for baking tomorrow night. They were easy to make, and got great reviews from my coworkers. I really tried to talk myself into making them again.

The Hearst Castle Shortbread Cookies I made on Friday were also delicious and very simple.

I made cupcakes last year and took them to work before Valentine’s Day.

If you had a little more time and wanted a presentation dessert rather than a snack, the Strawberry-Chocolate Tart was both delicious and very presentable. If you don’t like strawberries for some reason but happen to like nuts, the Fudge Almond Tart was amazingly good. I think I’m going to have to make it again soon, for no particular reason.

And of course, there’s always Red Velvet Cake, which I’m sure you could turn into cupcakes pretty easily, too. I forget if the original recipe had instructions for cupcakes.

There are probably other recipes I could have chosen, but those are what jumped out at me. I think the theme above is red, hearts, or chocolate.

Today’s Menu

Chocolate Crepes with Ricotta and Orange-Chocolate Sauce
Mimosas

*****

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Garlic Bread
Steak
Roasted Fennel
Wine-Poached Figs with Ricotta

*****

Chocolate Fondue with Fruit Ginger-Spiced Hot Cocoa
Spritz Cookies