Chewy Molasses Cookies

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Fall! I love it more than ever. The season is even more exciting now that there are two little girls trailing behind me eating up the season as much as I do. We have been baking cookies, taking hikes, going on bike rides, perusing the Halloween decoration aisles of every store and crunching our sneakers through the leaves in our yard. The girls are bursting at the seams with excitement for Halloween and our little countdown calendar is a huge source of pleasure.

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We had a few parties to go to last week and I found myself needing a straightforward recipe that could be made with little notice. These Chewy Molasses cookies fit the bill and I ended up baking several batches over the course of the week. They are thick, chewy, and full of flavor. I especially like that they are sturdy and hold up well to a warm cup of tea. The sanding sugar gives a welcomed little crunch and they have a kick of ginger that was well-received by all. These cookies remind me that it is sometimes the simplest ingredients that yield the most delicious items.

Chewy Molasses Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • coarse sanding sugar (we roll the cookies in this just prior to baking)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In one bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In another bowl whisk egg, butter, white sugar, molasses, and brown sugar. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and roll into sanding sugar. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or silpat) 2 inches apart. Bake for 5 minutes then rotate sheet pan and bake for another five minutes, or until cookies puff up and crack. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Bon Appetit.

More Soft and Poofy Sugar Cookies with Frosting

My sister-in-law made a special request for Annie’s Eats Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies and I obliged without hesitation. She loved them so much when I made them the first time!

These cookies are a dessert that both kids and adults seem to really enjoy. I love how theycan be as bright and colorful as you’d like to make them as opposed to plain old chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies. I like savoring one along side a cup of tea or a glass of milk.

Making them is easy. The dough can be made ahead of time so that you can simply bake them off when you need them. The frosting can be whipped together quickly.

Find the recipe here.

I hope you are enjoying an extra day off this weekend!

 

Soft and Poofy Sugar Cookies (with Frosting)

Like Annie from Annie’s Eats, my husband LOVES those poofy soft sugar cookies from the grocery store. (And who am I kidding? So do I!) I decided to give these a go. As Annie says, they are buttery, pillowy, and delicious. The frosting is perfect and they make a lovely presentation.

I decorated with purple frosting and silver sprinkles. What’s fun about these cookies is you can use any color frosting and sprinkles to match your festivities. They are perfect “party cookies.”

It’s important to keep an eye on these cookies as they bake, though, because just a second too long and they easily become a bit dry. I’ve always struggled with determining when a cookie is done. There is the afterbake to account for and each dough is so different. Furthermore, the desired texture for different cookie recipes varies dramatically–crispy, chewy, pillowy, soft. As I’ve said before, I will just have to keep baking cookies over and over until I’ve figured it out. Not a bad problem to have, do you think?

Check out the recipe at Annies Eats. Bake them and let me know what you think.

P.S. Remember the last time I used the silver sprinkles? It was for these mini chocolate halloween cupcakes with silver frosting!

Peanut Butter Hug Cookies

We are so lucky that friends whom I have known since birth (our parents actually met in birthing classes) recently relocated nearby. Yesterday I hosted a little gathering of our families chock full of laughs, lots of reminiscing, and (of course) food.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to serve so I decided to consult the internet for some whimsical inspiration. Usually I just  scroll through my favorite food sites and blogs.  This time, however, I took a different approach. I asked the internet if there were any “holidays” on Saturday. (Lately it seems like there is a holiday for every food group. Perhaps I would strike gold with Italian Sub Day, Eggplant Parmesan Day, or maybe Hot Fudge Brownie Sunday Day!)  But Saturday was not a food holiday. It was better. It was National Hugging Day! January 21 was chosen as National Hugging Day because it is midway between Christmas and Valentine’s Day when people are at an emotional low. Individuals are awarded each year with the title Most Huggable!

What perfect inspiration for a gathering with people you love! I immediately decided on a meal that would feel like a big warm hug: Pulled pork on fresh rolls piled high with cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and corn bread.

The dessert choice was obvious: Hug cookies! This is a classic Hershey’s recipe. They were little tasty bites of peanut butter and chocolate love. I found the recipe here on my new favorite site Food.com. These are perfect Valentine’s Day cookies, as well.

Some of the hugs melted slightly and lost their "kiss" shape

 Peanut Butter Hug Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons additional sugar
  • 48 Hershey’s Hugs (or Kisses)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In mixer, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended; Blend in sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; Beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually mix in peanut butter mixture. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place a Hershey’s Hug (or Kiss) on each cookie and press down slightly.

Adapted from Hershey’s Kiss Peanut Butter Cookies on Food.com.

 

Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies are my husband’s absolute favorite.  He isn’t totally a sweet lover but when it comes to Black and Whites, he is on board.  On the evening of our rehearsal dinner I presented him with a Black and White Cookie CAKE.  It was a giant Black and White cookie that could be shared.  It has become a little tradition, in fact, that every time I see a Black and White cookie in a store or bakery, I buy one for him.  They are sometimes hard to come by.  I fully intended to make these cookies for him for his birthday, however, the meal ended up being more time consuming than I expected and I barely had time to bake a cake.  (The cake actually had to share the oven with the baked beans!)  Needless to say, there was no time for cookie baking and cookie frosting and the recipe sat on our counter.

Then, almost serendipitously, the very sweet Shannon organized a cookie swap!  It was the perfect occasion to bake these cookies.  (Thanks again Shannon!) 

Not only did I get to take home extras of these Black and White cookies (making for a very happy husband!) but also, I received the following DELICIOUS cookies as a result of the swap:

Recipe Notes:

  • I am in love with the puffy cake like texture of these cookies.
  • I was not happy with my chocolate frosting per the recipe instructions and after frosting about 12 cookies, I decided to switch to the always-satisfying Hershey’s Chocolate frosting.  Muuuuuch better.  It doesn’t have the sheen of the white frosting but it definitely tastes good.  (I have included this in the recipe below.) 
  • This recipe yielded approximately 55 medium-sized cookies.
  • Just out of the oven, the cookies looked like delicious silver dollar pancakes!
  • Set aside a decent amount of time to frost these little guys.

Black and White Cookies:

Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

White Frosting

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Black (Chocolate) Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Make the cookies

    Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

    In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.

    In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a rounded tablespoon spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the batter 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Use your finger to spin the batter into perfect circle shapes. Bake until edges begin to brown, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

    Make the white frosting

    Boil a cup of water in a small pot. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture.  Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie.

    Make the black (chocolate) frosting

    Melt the butter in a medium bowl.  Stir in the cocoa.  Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Add small amount additional milk, if needed.  Stir in vanilla. Frost remaining halves of cookies.

    Adapted from SmittenKitchen.

    Mini Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

    October

    I am very late in sharing with you these little bites of heaven!  I made them for a Halloween potluck luncheon and everyone seemed to really enjoy them.  The cakes are very puffy and fluffy.  The filling is light and sweet.  The pumpkin gives the filling an orange tint.  (If you want to be especially festive you could add a few drops each of yellow and red food coloring to enhance the orange/black contrast!)  These were great for Halloween, but I think they are a very nice fall treat in general.  They would certainly add some spunk to a traditional Thanksgiving table.  (Minus the eyeballs, of course!)

    I love packaging treats individually these days!  I just can’t get enough of it!  Not only does it look super cute, but I find people enjoy slipping a treat into their pocket or purse for later–especially after a heavy meal.

    Here are some other treats I have wrapped individually:

    Kitchen Sink Cookies

    Better than Brownie Cookie Peanut Butter Sandwiches

    Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Pink Frosting and Sprinkles

    Mini Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies:

    Cakes

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

    Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

    Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks.  Cool completely.

    In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Whip until smooth

    Spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies.

    Adapted from Martha Stewart.

    Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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    Did you know Reese’s now makes dark chocolate peanut butter cups?  I know! So exciting!!! When I first spotted the bags of orange and black foiled cups in my grocery store, I assumed it was just a Halloween gimmick (which actually would have been okay with me–I love holiday-colored candies).  However, when I looked closer I discovered it wasn’t a gimmick.  The orange are milk chocolate and the black are dark chocolate–how thrilling!  I decided to buy a bag and immediately make the cookies I had noticed in October’s issue of Real Simple magazine.   

    The result? DELICIOUS.  Deadly delicious. 

    Isn’t there just something so satisfying about a big thick chewy cookie chock full of melty peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate chunks?  Add a tall cold glass of milk for dunking and you have yourself a little piece of heaven.  Enjoy!

    Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:

    •  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temp
    • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 12-ounce package small peanut butter cups, roughly chopped (Obviously I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate peanut  butter cups!)

    Preheat oven to 375 F.

    Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

    In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.

    Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  (About 5 minutes.)

    Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.

    Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until just incorporated.  (Do not over beat.)

    Use a rubber spatula to fold in the peanut butter cups.

    Pinch a tablespoon and a half of batter and quickly roll into a ball using your palms to make each cookie.  Place on parchment paper or silpat-lined baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

    Bake until light brown, about 12-16 minutes.  Use a metal spatula to transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

    This recipe made about 16-18  large cookies.  (I can’t remember exactly!)

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    Look at the beautiful peanut butter cups!  Yum, yum, yum…

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    Recipe adapted from October issue of Real Simple magazine.