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
1/2 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)
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
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
1/3 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 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
*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!!!