December 4, 2017 — Soft and Chewy Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m in the throws of finishing a beast of a paper, so instead of telling you how I made something, I’m just going to post a few pictures and the recipe. It’s that sort of week around here.

The Best Soft & Chewy Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies (from thedomesticrebel.com)

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I like to use Madagascar Bourbon)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar & white sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg to combine. Lastly, beat in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and pinch of salt until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the cranberries and white chips by hand.
  2. Refrigerate the cookie dough for AT LEAST 1 HOUR. You can chill it overnight if you’d like, but one hour chill time is mandatory to prevent cookies from spreading and to create that light, soft and chewy texture.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or mist lightly with cooking spray. Remove chilled dough from fridge and roll into Tablespoon-sized balls. Place onto the cookie sheets about 1-2″ apart from one another.
  4. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure an even cook. Cookies may appear slightly undone, but do not over-bake them! They will continue to set up more as they cool. Allow cookies to set on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes or so before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If you’d like to make them prettier, garnish cookies with additional white chips on top of still-warm cookies before serving.

December 3, 2017–Cherry Divinity

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In every cookie blogger’s life, a little sugar must fall. Or in my case, Cherry Divinity.

I’ve never made this before, but I had some marshmallow fluff leftover from the night before (it’s a long story) and google was there for me this morning with the answer to “Christmas Cookie with Marshmallow Fluff.”

Enter Cherry Divinity.

I supposed Divinity is more a candy than a cookie, but I make allowances for butter mints and toffee, so Divinity is given a pass.

The recipe seemed simple enough, though there was a glaring typo that I was ready to pounce on. Joke’s on me though, because this one didn’t quite turn out the way it should have.

I did everything right up until the 10 minutes of mixing, when I left to go write some of my research paper. When I returned, the substance in the mixer looked a little grainy. But I thought maybe it would be okay.

It wasn’t really.

Divinity isn’t supposed to look like this. I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like, but this is SUPER sweet. However, my kids have been snacking on it all day long, which tells me maybe there’s a market for this treat. I’m just not it.

And Dixie Sugar, it’s “loses” not “looses,” but after my experience, it’s clear that maybe I’m the loser on this one.

Cherry Divinity (from Dixie Sugar)

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line countertop with wax paper.
  2. Place marshmallow fluff in stand mixer bowl and attach the paddle attachment. Set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and slowly pour sugar mixture into the marshmallow fluff with the mixer on medium.
  5. Bring the speed up to medium-high and beat until the mixture thickens and looses it’s glossy sheen (and looks more matte), about 10 minutes.
  6. As soon as it’s the right texture, stir in vanilla and candied cherries. Working quickly, drop the divinity onto parchment paper using two large spoons: one spoon to scoop it and one spoon to push the candy off the other. Place a cherry onto the top of each piece of divinity.
  7. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

December 2, 2017–Snickerdoodles

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Today is Aaron Rodgers’ birthday. Now, I’m not a big football fan, but many of my friends are, which is how I know today is Aaron Rodgers’ birthday. I lived in Wisconsin for 14 years, home of the Packers, and when I think of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, I think of my friend Nichole, who is from Wisconsin. And when I think if Nichole, I think of Snickerdoodles, her favorite cookie.

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This one’s for you, Nichole.

(Like how I went from December 2nd to Snickerdoodles? I’m smarter than your average bear.)

So Aaron, Pack, Wisconsin, and Colie, this cookie is for you.

I made this cookie years ago (at Nichole’s house, actually) and it was Trisha Yearwood’s recipe. Today, when I wanted a Christmas-fied up version of a snickerdoodle, Trisha’s recipe again popped up…in someone else’s blog. I guess Mrs. Garth Brooks isn’t just a country singer given her own Food Network show because of her name…she is actually pretty legit!

Now, the recipe calls for sifting together the dry ingredients. Because it’s only December 2nd, I did it. But had I waited until like December 16th to make this cookie, it would be just a regular measure-and-dump. I hope the recipient of these cookies enjoy the extra effort taken.

I mixed it all up and went hunting for my colored sugars. Thankfully, I always seem to have those in abundant supply. And because it’s Christmas, I stuck with the traditional red and green…no black or lavender today!

Now when I moved into my new place earlier this year, I ordered some new bowls from Amazon. They were white! They were cheap! They came in a pack of six! And…when I got them…they were super tiny. Not what I needed for morning cereal. Thankfully, my laziness in returning them meant they were still in my cabinet, and ready to fulfill their destiny.

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Seriously, the tiniest ceramic bowls you’ve ever seen.

Because I love you all and want to make a good impression right now, I put them on my cookie sheet in alternating order. So pretty, but truth be told, after I snapped this picture, it was every colored-cookie for themselves. I don’t have time to prettify my cookie sheets.

In and out of the 400 degree oven, and my house smelled like Christmas.

Trisha Yearwood’s Snickerdoodles

(from http://www.foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 medium eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (*I used colored sugar) with the cinnamon.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Store in an airtight container.

December 1, 2017–Italian Sand Cookies

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Whoa, is it that time of year again? My tree is up, Elf is on prime time, and I have a pile of final exams to grade. Yup, it must be December!

It was a little up-in-the-air whether or not I’d do this, and in the spirit of openness, the way I was feeling in December, I didn’t know if I could ever get in the Christmas Spirit again. But I’ve prevailed against the doldrums, and here I am.

I’m starting the season off with one of my favorites–Italian Sand Cookies. I got this recipe a few years ago off the internet and they are always a crowd-pleaser.

Tonight, as I was starting to bake, I couldn’t find cornstarch. So, despite my best efforts, I was not prepared, and back to the store I went. Sigh.

Mixed it all together and piped it on a cookie sheet (I also didn’t have parchment paper, which I discovered after I got home from the store for the second time today. I was not about to return for a third.)

Now, when I lived in Wisconsin and made these, the piping came through a lot better.

See?

Now, I don’t know why it is that these have spread out so much the past few years, but my inclination is that it has something to do with humidity and general Louisiana-ness. (50th in everything, except humidity.) If you happen to know the real reason, please let me know.

To celebrate my first day (night?) of holiday baking, I picked up a little something at Albertsons when I went for corn starch.

No, not the cat. That’s Zelda, and she’s a new addition. I’m talking about the glass of Prosecco, also a new addition of sorts.

When they were cooled, I melted some milk chocolate with a little coconut oil and dipped them, and then added the mandatory sprinkles.

My best friend once caught a glimpse of all the sprinkles on my shelf via FaceTime and made me count them for her. There were 20 different kinds. This was a few years ago, and the collection has indeed grown. I don’t have a problem; I can stop any time I want!

Welcome to December friends. Now would anyone like to write a 20 page paper for me this weekend?

SAND COOKIES

(from www.cheftessbakeresse.com)

1 1/2 cups flour (we used AP)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar *
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
*(we also liked 3/4 c. conf sugar & 1/4 c. granulated which made them a slight bit sweeter)

Creaming method. Put through bag with large star tip. Bake @ 375 F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Decorate with choc chips, sprinkles or leave plain and dip half in melted choc., etc.