Egg Nog Cookies

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Pumpkin is to Halloween what egg nog is to Christmas.  It is the quintessential holiday beverage.  And though I don’t know many people who can drink more than a sip or two (my dad is the exception there–he can gulp egg nog like Gatorade!) that  little taste is all you need to get into the holiday spirit. 

So now imagine putting that delicious nutmeg-spiced egg nog sip into cookie form.  Worry no more because you can eat dozens of these buggers without feeling that post-egg nog nausea!  They are crispy on the outside and a soft on the inside (not chewy–just a little pillowy).  The flavor is great.  I gravitate to a softer cookie, so I do wish these were a little softer.  I think next time I will try adding an additional egg or two, and maybe even a little more egg nog.  Cheers!!!

Egg Nog Cookies:

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside.  Cream sugar and butter until fluffy.  Stir in eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks.  Beat at medium speed until smooth.  Add flour mixture in two additions, and beat on low speed until just combined.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Courtesy of kaboose.com.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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 As you may or may not have noticed, I tend to bake cakes and cupcakes more often than cookies.  It is only in this recent 48-hour whirlwind cookie baking spree that I realize why that has been the case–It is much more difficult to determine when a cookie is done than it is to determine when a cake (or cupcake)  is done. 

In the case of cakes, there are so many cues for doness: color, the skewer test, the press test (gently pressing your finger tips into the surface to see if it springs back), just to name a few.  And these generally apply for all types of cakes.

In the case of cookies my only test is peeking at the bottoms–if they are brown, I assume they are done.  But, I have learned, this is not always true because cookies vary so drastically in texture and ingredients.  The outside can be crisp and the inside a weeping mess.  In some cases the tops are incredibly soft (if it were a cake it’d be raw) but if it is just a soft and chewy type of cookie, it may well be done.  It is much more difficult to get it right.

All of this has led me to a conclusion: I need more practice in the cookie-baking arena!  Only by practicing with different ingredients and baking times can I really hone my eye for doneness.  With that said, let the cookie baking really begin!

One more thing though: What is funny is that I don’t need an ounce of practice on the other side of the fence as a cookie eater!  I do just fine in that realm!  I am a lover of chunky, chewy, multi-ingredient cookies (white chocolate chunks, especially, are a new favorite), which is why I particularly enjoyed this recipe.  The texture and flavors are fantastic!  Enjoy!  (And if you have any cookie baking secrets–please share!)

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 6-ounce package dried sweetened cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry mixture to egg/sugar mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition.  Delicately stir in cranberries and white chocolate.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.

Adpted from recipe by Ocean Spray, Inc.

Carrot Cake Cookies

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When I saw these cookies at Dinner and Dessert  I knew I wanted to make them.  I love carrot cake and I had never considered a carrot cake cookie–what a great idea!  These cookies are exactly what you would expect–each one packs delicious carrot cake goodness into two bites of a cookie.  (The only thing missing is a big dollop of cream cheese frosting!)

Carrot Cake Cookies:

  • 2  1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 loosely packed shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1  1/3 cups flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl combine first 10 ingredients with 3/4 cup water.  Beat on low speed until well blended.  Stir in carrots, currants, and coconut.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons (or tablespoons, depending on how big you want your cookies) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Leave about one inch between each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned but still soft in the center.  Cool on wire racks.

Adapted from dinneranddessert.wordpress.com.

Black Forest Cookies

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These cookies are delicious!  They are chewy and moist, and the rich chocolate taste is spectacular.  Be careful not to over bake, as at a first glance you may not realize they are done.  (The batter doesn’t really spread like a traditional cookie.)  This recipe yielded 28 cookies.  Enjoy!

Black Forest Cookies:

  • 1  11.5 ounce package milk chocolate morsels*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 6-ounce package of dried cherries (or Ocean Spray cherry flavored cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Delicately melt 3/4 cup of the chocolate over low heat until smooth.  Stir in brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Add flour and baking powder, mixing until completely combined.  Carefully stir in the dried cherries and the remaining chocolate morsels.

Drop by spoonful onto a greased and floured cookie sheet.  Bake 12-17 minutes, until firm to the touch.  Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I substituted one 3.4 oz bar of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa intense dark chocolate + 8 oz. semi-sweet morsels.  I think the dark chocolate made these especially rich and delicious.

 

Adapted from recipe by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

Papparadelle with Cabbage, Prosciutto, and Sage

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My husband and I have really been enjoying macaroni lately–especially the shapes with lots of chewy texture goodness.  When I saw this recipe in Real Simple, I quickly pegged it as an easy, fresh, and delicious weeknight meal.  (Plus, have you seen all of the articles boasting the cancer-killing properties of cabbage?)  I knew I wanted to make this!  And it really was a winner! 

I made some adjustments: I used two cups of broth instead of one, and I cooked some of the prosciutto with the onions to infuse some flavor as opposed to just adding it all at the end.  Unfortunately, our grocer was out of Savoy cabbage so I had to substitute plain green cabbage.  In the end, we both really enjoyed this.  The prosciutto was the star (shocking, I know!) but the cabbage held its own.  These three wonderful flavors and the fabulous texture of the pasta really worked well together.

Papparadelle with Cabbage, Prosciutto and Sage:

  • 8 ounces papparadelle
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 head cabbage (Savoy preferably), quartered and sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions or until done. 

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Here are the Delverde papparadelle nests just before I tossed them into the boiling water. 

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil.  Cook the onions and half of the prosciutto together until the onions are translucent and tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the cabbage and broth, stirring occasionaly.  Cover and let simmer until the cabbage just begins to wilt.  Stir in the remaining prosciutto and sage.  Drain the pasta and add it to the cabbage mixture.  Stir quickly, coating pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

Adapted from recipe found in Real Simple December 2008 issue.

Apple and Meringue Tartlets

My sincerest apologies to all of you for my lack of posts lately.  The weeks have been flying by–don’t you hate it when that happens?–and my kitchen and all of its lovely stainless pots, enamel pans, melamine mixing bowls,  wooden spoons, and rubber spatulas have been neglected.  I haven’t made much worth sharing lately, that is, until these little guys.  Tartlets.  Is that not the cutest name for a dessert?  I want to say it over and over.  Tartlet.  Tartlet. Tartlet.  I may have made these for that reason alone.  (Well, that’s not entirely true.)  These are tasty and the meringue makes them especially attention-worthy.  What these aren’t? Pint-sized apple pies.  These are different.  They have pastry cream. And meringue.  And rum.  And raisins.  I’ll let you know up front, however, that these innocent looking fellas, as adorable as they are, will require a fair amount of your time. But don’t let that scare you.  These are worth the effort and if you need to attack them in separate stages, you can always make the crust, the filling, and the pastry cream in advance, then bake and fill the tartlets and make the meringue at a later time.  If you have questions about how to do this feel free to email me.  Happy Tartletting!

Pie Crust:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 5 tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling:

  • 6 apples, peeled cored and chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pastry Cream:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk, scalded
  • 4 egg yolks, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

First make the pie crust.  (It is important that you do this first because it will need to chill for at least 30 minutes.) I like to do this by hand but if you are more comfortable using a stand mixer, don’t let my old-fashioned ways stop you!

Place flour, sugar, salt, and sugar on clean countertop and toss together.  Add cubes of butter and rub with your fingers until combination looks like small peas.  Add the water a spoonful at a time and fluff the mixture together with your finger tips.  If you have “hot hands” be sure to dip your fingers in ice water to keep the dough cool.  When all of the water is added and dough feels like it will come together nicely, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Make the apple filling.

In a medium pot combine the apples, water, and lemon juice.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Add sugar, apricot jam,  raisins, butter, and lemon zest and cook uncovered until thick and bubbly.  Transfer to a glass bowl and cool.

Make the pastry cream.

Heat the milk until just lukewarm.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, beat egg yolks and sugar until light, pale yellow.  Stir in flour and salt.  Carefully whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture.  Cook over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  If mixture becomes “globby” whisk until homogeneous.  Remove from heat and add rum and vanilla.  Strain through a mesh strainer.  Refrigerate until cool.

Make the tartlets.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Roll the pie crust until 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured counter.  Butter 10-12 tartlet pans.  (Be sure to get butter into every last crevice!)  Drape the dough over the pans and gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each pan.  Press firmly around the edge of the pans (using the top of the pan like a cookie cutter) and remove the scraps.  Use a fork to poke holes into the bottom of each piece of dough. 

Aren’t these little guys adorable?! Here they are uncooked and naked.

Place all of the tartlets on a baking sheet and cover the tartlets with parchment paper.  Carefully fill each tartlet (on top of the parchment) with pie weights.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and very carefully remove parchment and pie weights.  Return to the oven and continue to bake 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven, remove each tartlet from individual pans and cool on a rack.

Once cool, place tartlets on a baking sheet.  Spoon about one tablespoon of pastry cream onto each tart.  Top with apple filling.

Make the meringue.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer and a metal bowl) beat egg whites and lemon juice until soft peaks form.  Add sugar, one spoonful at a time, while continuing to beat.  Meringue should be the consistency of shaving cream.  Transfer into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe meringue onto each little tart.  (Tarts should already be filled with a layer of pastry cream and apple filling at this point.)  Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until meringue is golden brown and firm.  Cool on a rack before serving.