Now that my last few posts have been about real food, I’m back to talking about what I really love – cookies. When Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted a few months about Confetti Cookies, I wanted to try them – and then became busy and promptly forgot about the recipe, until I rediscovered it during on a weekend when I went on a spree of browsing dessert recipes while waiting for Alex to bring home donuts for breakfast.
I couldn’t make the cookies immediately, unfortunately, because I didn’t have cream cheese, which the recipe called for. Luckily I remembered to pick it up during my weekly shopping trip. From there, it was a very simple process of stationing my toddler on the kitchen counter, where she could play with Keurig cups while I assembled cookie dough and steal sprinkles that fell off of cookies that I put on baking sheets. (She was very good, and only smooshed one cookie with a container after I flattened it with a glass. But who can blame her for trying to help with the cookies!)
The recipe was pretty easy to make. It’s a standard sugar cookie recipe enhanced by cream cheese. I remember seeing this original recipe in King Arthur Flour, but I had to pass it by since I don’t keep cream cheese in the house. The cream cheese is supposed to up the complexity in the cookie, keeping them from being merely sweet; I also think it helps keep them fresh. Deb made these cookies in the food processor. I tried this for a different Smitten Kitchen recipe I tried once, and it worked splendidly! So I used a food processor instead of my stand mixer. This worked well as I didn’t have to bring my butter or cream cheese to room temperature, and the process was also a few minutes faster.
I cut back on the sugar by accident, but Alex and I agreed that we didn’t miss it; the sprinkles are plenty sweet. This recipe should yield 48 cookies, but I only got 33. They baked perfectly, though. The cookies were wonderfully soft and tender, and were still fresh after being stored in an air-tight container for a few days. I think this will be my go-to sugar cookie recipe.
This month I made Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with some egg whites I’d previously frozen. I’d made them once before – the day before I gave birth, in fact. They were the perfect snack for being in the hospital – rich, two-bite indulgences that were very chocolatey and yet didn’t seem too decadent thanks to lots and lots of coconut, which made them filling. These were my go-to snack – I’d grab a few in the middle of the night before heading to the NICU to feed baby. They were both comforting and practical.
The recipe is similar to the Raspberry-Coconut Macaroons I made before; both recipes were very simple to make. The chocolate macaroons were just as rich and satisfying now as they were when I first made them in February. They are like a Mounds bar, but better since the cookies are not as sweet. The macaroons provide a real fix for a serious chocolate craving. And not only are they amazingly delicious – making them only took me 30 minutes from start to finish.
This week I really wanted cookies, but didn’t want super-easy bar cookies or brownies (which I’ve made often lately) or chocolate chip cookies (ditto). I recently bookmarked a lot of sugar cookie recipes from King Arthur Flour, and quickly chose to make Vanilla Sugar Cookies, a straightforward recipe that seemed like it would make roughly what I wanted, without rolling out and cutting the dough.
I’m glad that I made these cookies. They were exactly what I wanted this week.
Most of my posts start off with “recently I really wanted…” And really, why shouldn’t cooking and baking be that way? I’m fortunate that I can generally make whatever I want, and make it relatively well. Recently, what I wanted was biscotti. This surprised me, because I usually don’t choose hard cookies. I like tender, chewy, and soft. For a long time, that was all I ever looked for in a cookie. Over the past few years my palate has grown, and I’ve come to appreciate the variety of food that I can make and enjoy (even if it seems like I only make sweets based on the recipes I post). I can embrace gooey brownies and crisp biscotti without conflict.
Good biscotti can certainly be tender, and they don’t have to be rock hard. And that’s what I hoped the Chocolate Buckwheat Biscotti recipe I found would be. They were gluten-free without making any unusual substitutions, provided you embrace the buckwheat and almond meal included in the ingredient list. I only first tried buckwheat flour a few weeks ago, and based on my limited experience with it so far, I think I like it. It gives an earthy flavor that works well in these chocolatey biscotti.
Let me tell you about very delicious chocolate chip cookies. This recipe yields some of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I have ever made, period. Having made another gluten-free cookie recipe, I think it’s probable that this is the most delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe known to man or woman.
The first time I made these cookies, I had cut gluten out from my diet for about 3 weeks. I fortunately can and am willing to make a variety of food and to experiment, so I didn’t miss very much. It got easier as the diet progressed, in fact. That said, I have missed classic cookies, and granola bars are a good substitute for only so long. I was incredibly excited when something online led me to Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. It was the perfect thing to look forward to making on a cold weekend in February – and any time, really.
Let me tell you now – this makes excellent cookies that you don’t realize are gluten-free. And, the cookies are huge! I decided to wait until I’d made the recipe again and tried making normal-sized cookies before telling you about it.
In my quest for gluten-free recipes, particularly those recipes that take ingredients I would expect in most pantries, I found this recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. This was a very easy and delicious recipe to make. You’ll need shelf-stable peanut butter for this – not the natural, peanut-only butter that you have to keep in the fridge. Luckily for me, I usually have both around – natural peanut butter for my toast, and pantry peanut butter for cooking/baking.
When signing up for a pre-Thanksgiving work potluck recently, I noticed that no one had signed up yet for a dish with cranberries. I thought of making cranberry sauce or relish, would be tasty and all – but we all know that I love sweets. I decided to make a cranberry dessert, and thought that a cranberry cookie with orange zest would be perfect for it.
I went back and forth about writing up this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip recipe. Upon making this recipe, I discovered that I’m not particularly fond of the pumpkin-chocolate combination. Apparently my growing appreciation of pumpkin doesn’t mesh well with my love of chocolate.
Despite the fact that they weren’t regular chocolate chip cookies, I kept eating them. These were really good fall cookies that just happened to have chocolate chips in them. This is a recipe that made me relatively happy, and that will make someone else very happy.