Candy Cupboard Cookie Bars. For this recipe, I literally used all the bits and pieces of leftover chips, dried cherries, toasted coconut and toffee bits in my cupboard. I always say that my best recipes are the ones that are spontaneous. Take a basic cookie formula and just start adding in some bits and pieces of leftovers to create a delicious treat. And with the added unsalted butter from Cabot, these cookies were a big hit with my husband and his co-workers. Recipes such as this challenge your creativity in the kitchen, something that I really enjoy.
Candy Cupboard Cookie Bars
Ingredients 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
1 cup Cabot unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup toasted coconut
1/3 cup mini dark choc. chips
1/4 cup toffee bits
Tips~An empty baking pan pressed up against the parchment paper will help keep the dough in place while baking.
1. In a bowl, sift the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda and espresso powder. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray or grease with butter or oil, set aside.
2. Cream the butter with both white and brown sugar for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the salt, vanilla and one egg at a time.
3. Gradully add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Fold in chips, cherries, coconut and toffee bits.
4. Spread the cookie dough onto a lined baking sheet, and form an 11X9 rectangle. Push down and up against the edges making sure the dough stays on the parchment paper. If the baking sheet has room to spare, use a smaller baking dish pressed up against parchment paper to hold it’s shape during baking. Sprinkle some turbinado sugar over the top. Bake at 350 for 23 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing into 24 cookie bars. Store in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Tips~ You could use a baking dish as well. Just make sure the dough is no more than an inch thick before baking.
Why is it that as we get a certain age we become nostalgic for our childhood favorites? I think that no matter how old we are, those things that we loved as a child transport us to simpler times, happy times… As a child growing up in family of ten, some of my favorite things seem to always revolve around different foods and aromas. The aroma of tamales steaming, chiles roasting on the comal and the sweet aromas when you walk into the Mexican bakeries, La Panaderia. Those are things that stay with you forever. I remember following close behind my Mom or Dad as they placed the fresh baked pan dulce onto the tray. It was always in my best interest to make that trip with them, to ensure I got to pick out my favorite Mexican sweet bread. Two of my favorite’s were and still are were called “besos” (kisses) and “ojo de buey”(eye of the ox), ha, ha, ha! Sometimes the literal translations just don’t translate well, but you getthe idea. Besos are a puffed up sandwich soft cookie with assorted fruit fillings, brushed with melted butter and dusted in fine sugar. The ojo de buey is similar in shape with a raspberry filling, brushed with more raspberry filling and coated with fluffly shredded coconut. So for me this version is the best of both of those. This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found called Scottish Snowballs. I would love to find the authentic recipe for the Mexican version, but that is not always an easy task. And most times if you do find something, it is written for commercial bakeries and is almost impossible to convert to a homecook’s version. So, with my added touches to the scottish recipe, I am very happy with how this recipe turned out. It may not be the original, but it sure did transport me back to la panaderia.
Besos de Coco ~ Snowball Kisses
3/4 cup sugar 4 large eggs 1 teaspoon coconut extract Zest of 1 lemon 1 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablepoons flour, sifted Pinch of salt Your favorite jam, preserves or dulce de leche
For Icing 1 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons warm water 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Whisk for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the coconut extract and lemon zest
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking shetes with parchment paper. Fold in the flour and salt t just until incorporated. Onto each
baking sheet, drop 12 cookies (about 2 tablespoons of batter). Try to make them as round as possible. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them from baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
4. Take 12 of the cookies and fill the flat side with about 1 tablespoon of filling. Spread out evenly. Top with another plain cookie, flat side onto filling. In a bowl, add the powdered sugar. Mix in the hot water, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Dip one half into glaze and then press into coconut until evenly coated. Repeat with the other half of cookie. Place back onto wire rack until cookies set and dry. Yields 12 sandwich cookies.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
*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!!!
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.