Favorite Cookie Recipes~ The Accidental Baker

I often wonder why many chefs or homecooks dislike baking. Is it because baking requires “attention to detail”, precise measurements, watching the oven, using every bowl, measuring cup and spoon????  And not to mention that sink full of dishes created all from one cookie recipe, lol! Ok, that may some good reasons. I too was one one those cooks who only baked out of necessity. Or maybe it was to see if the oven really worked. I much prefer the cooking experience over the baking experience, but the past few years I have come to really appreciate the baking as well. I find myself baking more often these days, especially since we gave up purchasing store bought baked goods. And this was a good way to avoid my better half from purchasing donuts once a week, ha, ha, ha! If your going to splurge on a few extra calories, bake it and cook it yourself. At least you know what’s going into it(mostly).My friend Denise would understand the “mostly” part, lol!  And in the end there  is a sense of satisfaction and always an opportunity to learn!

 

 

Lemon Coconut Soft Sugar 

Lemon Coconut Sugar Cookie

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut baking extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
Sprinkles

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a whisk or an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, extracts and lemon juice and mix well.

2. Gradually add in the dry ingredients. Using a small cookie scoop, place onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Using your finger, slightly flatten cookie and add sprinkles. Makes about 15 medium cookies. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Spiced Iced Oatmeal & Raisin 

Spiced Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Spiced Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups oatmeal (old fashioned oats)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar or regular sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1 full cup raisins
1/3 cup toffee bits, optional

For Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons warm water
Zest of 1 orange

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and spices. In another bowl, cream together the butter, and both sugars. Mix in one egg at a time, them mix in molasses and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until well combined. Fold in the raisins.

2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a scoop or two spoons, drop 12 cookies onto each baking sheet. Flatten slightly and top each cookie with some toffee bits. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until bottom edges start to turn golden. I like to rotate pans halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

3. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the icing until it’s smooth. Drizzle icing over cookies(sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon if you like) and cool until icing sets. Yields 24 large cookies.

 

Peanut Butter with Chocolate 

Peanu Butter Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour
1 full cup wilburs peanut butter chips, plus more for topping
1 cup turbinado sugar
24 to 30 wilbur dark chocolate drops or kisses
Sea salt, optional

*Yields 24 to 30 cookies
*Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 13 minutes

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, coconut oil, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar until smooth.

2. Mix in the egg, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Gradually add in the flour. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Roll into balls, then roll into turbinado sugar and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until the edges turn slight golden brown.

3. As soon as they come out, gently add a chocolate piece to the center of each cookie. Then add a few extra peanut butter chips to the center. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt to taste. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

 

Espresso Chocolate Chip 

I love adding espresso powder to many of my desserts prepared with chocolate.
I love adding espresso powder to many of my desserts prepared with chocolate.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 oz. bag Ghirardelli bittersweet chips (60% Cacao)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

2. Combine the flour (both varieties), espresso, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3. Cream together the butter with both brown and granulated sugar until creamy. Mix in one egg at a time and vanilla.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls or cookie scoop 24 large cookie dough balls onto lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. You want the edges to just turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pan. Yields 24 large cookies.

Espresso Chocolate Chip
Espresso Chocolate Chip. Treated myself to one with the Hershey’s chocolate hazelnut spread.

 

Hojarascas  Mexican Cookies

I did not intend to add a Mexican style cookie to this post, but this is truly my favorite cookie for many special reasons.

Hojarascas

1 cup of vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. anise seeds or ground
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
nonstick spray or parchment paper
cinnamon

Directions

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Combine shortening and 1/2 cup of sugar in bowl. Using a hand mixer, cream together until well blended. Beat in the anise and then the egg yolks until thoroughly blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and with the mixer running, add the orange juice, baking powder and finally the flour, mixing just long enough to work in the flour.

2. Spray or line cookie sheets. Now, you can either roll out dough and use your favorite cut outs(a heart is traditional) or roll little 1 inch balls and place them on the cookie sheets. Take the bottom of a glass and press cookies flat. Dip the bottom of glass in flour if it starts to stick.

3. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 11 to 13 minutes. While cookies are cooling, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Carefully dip each cookie into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cool completely and store in airtight container

Variation: You can add finely crushed pecans to the cookie mix, makes a great cookie!!!

Hojarascas, a tradition from way back when...keeping the spirit of my family alive.
Hojarascas, a tradition from way back when…keeping the spirit of my family alive.

 

Chicken Soup with Vegetables and Rice (Caldo de Pollo con Arroz)

Chicken Soup with Rice (Caldo de Pollo con Arroz). This is a soup that I prepare typically with all that leftover turkey I find myself with after the holidays. But I have also been known to pick up a rotiserrie chicken from my local market for a quick semi-homemade version of this recipe. But my favorite way to enjoy this recipe is preparing it with homemade chicken stock from chicken I cooked low and slow on the stove top. Either way you decide to prepare this recipe, it’s delicious with all of it’s simple and fresh ingredients. If rice is not your favorite, try adding some cooked pasta noodles or shells. One of the only reasons to enjoy the cold weather months is a big bowl of homemade soup!

Start from scratch with a homemade stock by cooking your own chicken or for a quick night recipe, purchase a already roasted chicken and have soup in  no time.
Start from scratch with a homemade stock by cooking your own chicken or for a quick night recipe, purchase a already roasted chicken and have soup in no time.

Ingredients
6 to 8 cups chicken broth,store bought or homemade recipe below (I like mine with alot of broth, so I add 8 cups)
4 cups diced cooked chicken  or turkey (I used both white and dark meat from roasted chicken)
1/2 cup diced sweet onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced
2 large roma tomatoes or tomatillos, diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste

Tips~ Preparing Homemade Stock/Broth by cooking about 2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs or breast with the skins on. Cover with water 2 inches over chicken, season to taste with salt. Add chopped onion, bulb of garlic,2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, handful of cilantro, 1 teaspoon peppercorns and 1 to 2 chile peppers of your choice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, skimming off the top, and cook for 45 to 60 minutes. Strain and discard solids, shred or dice chicken when  cooled. Chill stock overnight before using it. This will make it easier to remove the fat (top layer) before adding it to your favorite recipes.

There is nothing more delicious than any homemade stock for all of your favorite recipes.
There is nothing more delicious than any homemade stock for all of your favorite recipes.

 

For Rice
2 cups long grain rice (I use jasmine rice)
1 teaspooon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups water

A simple steamed jasmine rice with a few added spices is perfect for any soup recipe.
A simple steamed jasmine rice with a few added spices is perfect for any soup recipe.

Directions

1. Add the broth to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all of the ingredients as listed, allowing the soup to come up to a boil before adding the seasonings.

2. Reduce heat, cover and continue cooking for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Taste for salt and other spices. Season to taste.

3. While soup is simmering, prepare the rice. Add 2 cups long grain rice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 3 cups water in a pot. Stir gently, cover and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 18 to 20 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving. Serve soup with rice, garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges. Yields up to 8 servings.

Caldo de Pollo con Arroz
Caldo de Pollo con Arroz

Tips~ you can prepare this soup in the slow cooker as well. Add all the ingredients, minus the cooked rice and  cook on on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. This is a great recipe using any leftover chicken, turkey, pork or beef roast. Or just add more veggie varieties for a meatless option.

Shrimp Po Boys~ Fat Tuesday

Although I have never attended any real Mardi Gras celebrations, I love the whole vibe. My most favorite thing is the spicy, colorful and savory foods that are prepared.I lived in Texas for a few years and they had their version of po boy sandwiches that were very tasty. I finally decided to recreate my version of a Shrimp Po Boy. Surprisingly, I had most of the ingredients on hand already, minus the shrimp and buttermilk. This is a delicious recipe for a  Mardi Gras themed lunch or dinner with friends, but really it’s great anytime… I figured if I can’t go to Louisina and enjoy the tasty foods during Mardi Gras, than I will do my best to bring the flavors of Mardi Gras into my own kitchen.
Shrimp Po Boy
Shrimp Po Boy
Everything in Place... Shrimp Po Boys
Everything in Place… Shrimp Po Boys

Ingredients

For Remoulade Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 tablespoon horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Seasoning For Shrimp
20 large/ extra large shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of salt

You will also need
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups of oil for frying ( I used equal parts olive oil and grapeseed oil)
Lettuce, shredded or just torn into pieces
Tomato slices, 2 roma
Dill Pickle slices
Hot pepper rings
4- six inch baguette style rolls

Crispy Shrimp for Po Boys or Toss in Buffalo Sauce!
Crispy Shrimp for Po Boys or Toss in Buffalo Sauce!

 

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the remoulade sauce. Mix well to combine, taste for salt, cover and chill until ready to use.

2. After cleaning shrimp, combine all of the dried spices listed and mix well. Divide in half, using one half to season the shrimp, set aside.

3. Preheat 1 1/2 cups oil in a shallow pan for 5 minutes. Add buttermilk to one bowl . In another bowl combine flour , cornmeal and remaining spice mix from remoulade sauce.

4. Once oil is hot, dip shrimp into buttermilk and coat with flour/cornmeal mix. Carefully drop into hot oil and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Drain shrimp onto plate lined with paper towels or on a metal rack over a baking sheet.

5. When frying, try not to overcrowd the pan, cooking 6 to 7 shrimp at one time. Spread remoulade sauce on rolls, add lettuce, tomato slices, hot pepper and 5 pieces of shrimp. Yields 4 servings.

Tips~ If you are lacking in the spice department, just mix the mayo with some lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper for a quick version of remoulade sauce.

Shrimp Po Boys
Shrimp Po Boys