Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Standard

When I think of the flavors I love, the top two are lemon and caramel. (What, you don’t sit around and think what two flavors you would want if you could only have two flavors for the rest of your life? Yeah…me either…) And since I live in the south now, sometimes I am blessed with a bag of lemons straight from someone’s tree. img_0028

(You can grow LEMONS and other citrus fruit down here! It still blows my Northern Girl mind!)

Mini- Me’s friend’s grandma gave us a bag of lemons and satsumas before Thanksgiving, and I thought there had to be a recipe out there for a deliciously lemon cookie.

I found one on Pinterest and went to work. Though as tasted the dough, I realized that it was not lemony enough for my liking. And then this Northern Girl realized that the lemons that grow down here are Meyer Lemons, and not as sour as your everyday lemons. Oh well.

To try and rectify my sourpuss sensibilities, when it came time to make the lemon icing, I improvised a little. Instead of just powdered sugar and water, as the recipe calls for, I tried to make a sour lemon icing with the juice from the Meyer Lemons and sugar, boiled and reduced in a pot, and then added to powdered sugar.

img_0022img_0023img_0024

The result? Lemony icing, but still not sour enough. Oh well. They still taste good to the non-lemon flavor purists out there, and that’s a success in my book.

 

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

(from Swankyrecipes.com)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Icing (as they wrote it, not my 24daysofcookies.com variation)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup powdered sugar

Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl fit with a paddle attachment of a mixer. Cream together for about 1 minute. Add granulated sugar and continue to mix. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Add half the flour, all the baking soda, salt, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add lemon juice and the remaining flour. Mix to combine until the dough starts to form like a ball. Add a little more flour until slight ball starts to form. Cover and refrigerate dough at least 2-3 hours or up to a few days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheet and spray with cooking spray or parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie dough. Roll cookie dough between hands to get a nice round ball and place on prepared cookie sheet.Bake for 8-10 minutes, removed from oven and while still hot, slightly press down if desired. Allow cookies to cool down completely before transferring. Cookies will slightly harden overnight a little more so don’t bake them much longer.

To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and water together in a small bowl. Whisk fast until ingredients are combined with no lumps. Dip cookies upside down into icing or drizzle icing over the top and allow to harden.

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Standard

Greetings and Salutations! So for those playing at home, baking generally involves the oven. Okay, technically it ALWAYS involves the oven. But what if you don’t have an oven? Or any aptitude to work an oven? (I’m looking at you, J-Dub.)

Or, what if you’re like me and it’s not the oven issue you need to overcome, but that you maybe run a cookie blog and your KitchenAid mixer bowl is in the fridge because you have another recipe that needs to chill in it for a few hours and you have a few spare hours that you could squeeze in another recipe?

I know there are a lot of you with this exact situation.img_0025

Anyway, no bake cookies exist, and this is a good one to try. I like to ask my friends what their favorite cookie is (I get a lot of great ideas from this, actually) and this is one friend’s favorite.

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a large bowl, stir the coconut and oats and set aside.
  2. In a pot over medium heat, stir the sugar,cocoa, butter and milk together. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  3. Immediately pour into the bowl of coconut and oats mixture.
  4. Working quickly, drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and let stand until cool.

 

Cesca’s White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

Standard

I made these last year–another Pinterest find–and when I brought an assortment to the hungry hungry grad students, my friend Cesca tried a few and then got to this one. Well, since then, whenever the conversation turns towards cookies (and because she and I now share an office, it often does) I hear about “those ginger cookies,” often in a lyric detail only a poet could describe them, and always with the ending sentence, “And I don’t even like cookies that much.”

So, I’m sorry Pinterest and site where this recipe originated, I have changed the name of these to Cesca’s White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies, after their biggest fan and bad-ass poet/songwriter/journalist. I hope these hold up to her memory from last year!

img_0018

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

(from http://www.cookingclassy.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp shortening
  • sprinkles

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg, then blend in molasses and vanilla. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 10 minutes of chilling.
  • Scoop dough out about 1 1/2 Tbsp at a time, shape into balls then roll in remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart (keep dough chilled that is not currently baking), flatten tops just slightly (to evenly level). Bake in preheated oven 8 – 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup white chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp shortening at a time in microwave on HIGH power in 10 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted, smooth and fairly runny (I did batches of it because it will cool as your dipping, plus its easy to burn so you don’t want to work with too much of it at a time. Then once you’ve used it up melt more, you may not need all 3 cups). Dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate mixture then run bottom of cookie slightly along edge of bowl to remove excess, then return to Silpat or parchment paper to set at room temperature.
  • Sprinkle sprinkles on top, after the long journey to decide which ones to use

 

The Best Damn Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Standard

My first batch of 2016 was to pay off a debt.

No, no. The local casinos aren’t taking cookies as currency, nor has my bookie Vito figured out where I live.

I probably shouldn’t call it a debt actually. It was a thank you gift…because my cats are assholes. Over Thanksgiving, my friend came over to take care of my cats Mo and Gil, and at least one hid from him a good chunk of the time, causing him to worry that he’d lost one of my cats. This was all unbeknownst to me until I got back. I felt bad he had worried so much over these two jerks, and I know he enjoys cookies. img_0017

I made these last year (December 13: Chocolate Chip Cookies) and they never disappoint.

(The recipe is one I found on Pinterest a few years ago, which makes me want to point out that I started doing this nutty cookie thing in 2004, before Pinterest. You know, pointing this out is like when I tell my students that I went to college before Google–I think I am making a point of how awesome and smart I am, but really I’m pointing out just how old I am.)

img_0016

 

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from http://www.smells-like-home.com)

 

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp (10 5/8 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (7oz)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (5oz)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions.Preheat oven 325°.Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball.Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves.Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes).Do not overbake.

 

 

It’s a whole new ballgame…

Standard

And I’m not just saying that because I grew up in Chicago and the Cubs won the World Series!

img_4590

The kids and me a couple of years ago, back when I didn’t have self-bettering academic things to do in December.

I’m a 2nd year MFA student (that’s grad school, y’all), and had a particularly crazy fall semester. In addition to my own 12 hours of classes (was 15, but I dropped one class), I was teaching 2 sections of English 101, working in the library 10 hours a week, and am a mom of 3 kids…December is finals season, and try as I may, I just couldn’t muster up the ability to care about cookies come December 1.

But.

I’m done. Grades are entered. I have my 4.0 for the semester. Kids are in school this week. Which means, I have nothing to do but bake!

Stay tuned for more cookie posts. Also, I just joined instagram as @24daysofcookies, so follow me and see what I can do (or complain about).