Coconut Pecan Sandies…

I know my posts have been a little more sparse lately and I apologize! Joel and I volunteered to sing with our hometown church choir’s Christmas program over the weekend, so the past few weeks have been extremely hectic! It was pretty cool getting to hear my daddy sing a solo, though! :)

With all the craziness going on lately I haven’t gotten much of a chance to do as much Christmas baking as I would’ve liked. However, I recently had a free afternoon and jumped on the chance to bake up something yummy and festive! These cookies are a version of my mom’s favorite Christmas cookies, Santa’s Whiskers, which normally have candied red and green cherries in them (so pretty!), but I didn’t have any on hand, so those will have to wait for another time! We decided these were very reminiscent of pecan sandies – very crunchy and shortbread-like in texture – and I added a healthy dose of cinnamon to give them a little more flavor. The edges of the cookies are rolled in coconut before baking, so the coconut flavor isn’t overpowering, but still very prominent. I think these would be awesome with a cup of hot cocoa- the perfect Christmastime treat!

Coconut Pecan Sandies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Blend in milk and vanilla.

Slowly stir in flour, salt, cinnamon and pecans. Form dough into 2 8-inch rolls and roll in the flaked coconut. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Recipe source: my mom (this is a very old family recipe, given to my mom just after she and my dad were married!)

P.S. Here’s a little tip- during all of your holiday baking this year, don’t forget to use real butter! Margarine or butter “spread” just won’t work as well as the real thing and you’ll most likely end up with flat cookies that spread too much. Real butter gives you a tender, flaky, more flavorful cookie that just can’t be equaled! Happy baking!

 

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Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies…

I hope everyone enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving with friends and family! We sure did! Although, I learned the hard way that being 8 months pregnant and eating one’s weight in turkey and dressing (and cranberry sauce…and mashed potatoes…and green bean casserole…and 3 kinds of pie…) isn’t the smartest idea (I literally thought I was going to pop!). Instead of being sociable with the rest of the women, I snoozed with the men folk in front of the TV. It was worth it, though- I LOVE Thanksgiving food!

But now it’s onto more important things, like baking Christmas goodies! I couldn’t wait to get home, get in my kitchen and start baking! I made these gingerbread cookies a couple of years ago, but rolled them out into gingerbread men and decorated them. As fun as that was, I’m not a fan of having to wait for the dough to chill, then roll it out, then cut out the shapes…then repeat 10 times. This time, all I wanted was a chewy, spicy gingerbread cookie I could bake in minutes and enjoy right away! And these are sooooo good! Especially if you’re a huge gingerbread cookie fan like I am! They’re crispy around the edges but have a wonderful chewiness that’s downright addicting! I think I polished off about 6 of these in one sitting! I have tons of leftover dough, so I know I’ll be baking lots more of these in the coming weeks!

Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 egg
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 1 minute. Add the egg and molasses and combine.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Slowly and gradually blend into the butter mixture until smooth.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop dough out into 1 1/2 inch rounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Space cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: adapted from allrecipes.com

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Sugar and Spice Espresso Cookies…

While visiting my Nana a couple of weeks ago, I was flipping through a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that had come with one of her latest magazines. It was nothing but cookies, so of course I was finding recipes left and right I wanted to try. The first one to catch my eye was one for sugar and spice espresso cookies. Sounds great, right? Well, they really are! I came home and immediately baked up a batch of these cookies! The verdict: we loved them (even Joel, who isn’t crazy about coffee!)! Just a teensy bit chewy with a good amount of crunch and the coffee flavor is nicely complimented by the cinnamon. They tasted like cinnamon coffee, which happens to be one of my favorite fall treats. I loved the way my house smelled while these were baking, too! I marked the recipe with a little star and put it in my recipe box, which means I’ll definitely be making these over and over again!

Sugar and Spice Espresso Cookies

2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons espresso powder and water, stirring until coffee powder is dissolved. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), combine the butter and shortening; beat for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, vanilla and coffee mixture. Slowly add the flour a little at a time until fully incorporated.

Divide the dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 7-inch log. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill about 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut logs into 3/8-inch slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon espresso powder; sprinkle over slices. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Makes approximately 48 cookies.

Recipe source: Better Homes and Gardens Best Ever Cookies recipe book

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Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies…

Happy Friday! I have some GREAT news- yesterday Joel and I had our “big” sonogram at the doctor’s office. You know, the big gender reveal?! After weeks and weeks of people constantly asking us, “do you know yet what you’re having??” we were SO ready for this day. Everybody had their guesses, but in the end team pink won out! That’s right, WE’RE HAVING A LITTLE GIRL!!!! Words can’t even begin to express how excited we both are- I’ve always dreamed of having a girl and when the sonogram technician said, “it’s a little girl!” my heart skipped a beat and Joel and I couldn’t stop giggling.

So obviously, that’s where these cookies come in. After I got home from the doctor I couldn’t sit still. I had already called, texted, facebooked and tweeted my friends and loved ones so really, there was nothing left for me to do but get in the kitchen and bake some girly pink cookies to celebrate! These soft frosted sugar cookies (yes, just like the sugary store-bought ones!) were the first things to come to mind! I had seen variations of them on all my friends’ blogs- Annie, Jessica and Tara, to name a few- and knew I had to make my own (especially since Joel absolutely adores the store-bought version!). As expected, these did NOT disappoint! They’re super soft, chewy and taste just like their store-bought counterparts, only better! We’re in love!

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

For the cookies:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7-8 tablespoon milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or just until set  (do not overbake!  The edges should be no more than very lightly browned if at all).  Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Tint with food coloring if desired.  Use a spatula or spoon to frost the cooled cookies (If the frosting begins to thicken as you decorate, just continue to whisk in small amounts of milk to keep it workable).  Top with sprinkles if desired.  Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.

Recipe source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Hostess With the Mostess

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Cookies and Cream Cookies

Phew! Thanks for bearing with me, y’all! Now that my site’s up and running again (*ahem* 3 days later…), I’ll share a delicious treat with you! A delicious Oreo-studded treat! Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m an Oreo-holic. Most times, I’ll pick up a package of Oreos with the hopes of using them in some brilliant baked treat, but they never make it to the oven. I can’t resist. I’ll eat every last one of them before even getting anywhere close to baking with them. It’s a sickness.

I’ve seen these cookies floating around lately and have been meaning to try them for weeks now but….well, you know my situation (see above). Finally, I gathered up enough will power to resist eating them long enough to bake these amazing cookies. OMG, I’m in love! I used my beloved King Arthur Flour drop cookies recipe and simply stirred in a hearty amount of chopped Oreos….you MUST make these. Chewy like a sugar cookie, but filled with crunchy bits of Oreos- these are heavenly. I can’t wait to make them again. If I can keep my hands off the Oreos long enough……

Cookies and Cream Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups Oreos, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment. Beat together the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder until well combined. Add the egg, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat again until smooth.
Add the flour, mixing it in completely.  Stir in the milk, then carefully stir in the Oreos.
Drop the cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. A cookie scoop works well here.
Bake the cookies for 11 to 15 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, and a bit darker around the edges.
Remove from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheets.

Recipe source: inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, drop cookie recipe from King Arthur Flour

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Cowboy Cookies…

Let me ask you a question: what, exactly, makes a recipe “cowboy” or “Texan”?? This has always mystified me. I mean, who first decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and call them “cowboy cookies”? I just don’t get it. Oh well. That doesn’t keep these cookies from being totally scrumptious (I was going to just call them “oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts”, but I’m pretty sure cookies with all these ingredients are usually called cowboy cookies). I’ve been craving a crisp, slightly chewy oatmeal cookie with lots of texture- now, I firmly believe I have the BEST recipe for good ‘ol chewy, comforting oatmeal cookies, so I decided to doctor them up a little to achieve my desired texture. Want to know what I added? Crushed up graham crackers. It added just the right amount of texture, as well as a slightly toasty flavor. I absolutely loved it.

These turned out chewy, but nice and crisp around the edges. As always, I toasted my coconut, oats and nuts for an added crunchiness. What a cookie. Luckily, I had tons of leftover dough, so I can’t wait to take these to all my opera friends (yes, it’s that time again- opera season has begun so all my singer friends are eager to resume their roles as my cookie-tasting guinea pigs). I have a feeling these will go over quite well! You’ve got to give these a try if you’re looking for a good oatmeal cookie- they’re something special!

Cowboy Cookies

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softenend
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats, coconut and walnuts and spread on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the coconut becomes fragrant, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, half and half and vanilla and blend until smooth. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, then toasted oat mixture and chocolate chips. Drop dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in rounded spoonfuls (or you can use a cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 12-14 minutes until edges of cookies are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

Recipe Source: Sing For Your Supper original, heavily adapted from my recipe for Toasted Oatmeal Cookies with Golden Raisins, Coconut and Pecans

 

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Every once in awhile, a dessert comes along that you can’t stop daydreaming about. You think about it while lying in bed trying to sleep, you think about it when you’re having a rough day, maybe you even think about it while you’re in the middle of giving a voice lesson (ahem…not me, of course…). I mean, who can resist a warm, gooey cookie with ice cream on top? Not me. NOT me.

A couple of months back, I posted an excellent recipe for peanut butter cookies; after I made the initial batch, I safely tucked the extra dough away in the freezer for safe-keeping. The other night, in the midst of a warm-gooey-chocolaty craving emergency, I made these beauties. Peanut butter cookie dough, baked in a ramekin until just barely cooked (even a little gooey on the inside), then topped with chocolate chips and a big scoop of ice cream. Pretty much the best thing I’ve put in my mouth in a long time! I simply cannot resist warm gooey cookie dough, so this was an absolutely heavenly treat for me. Joel loved it too!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookie Cups

peanut butter cookie dough (homemade or store-bought)
chocolate chips
ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 2 1/2-3 inch ramekins (muffin cups would also work if you don’t have ramekins).
Fill the ramekins 3/4 full with the cookie dough (slightly packed). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just beginning to brown on the outside, but still slightly undercooked on the inside (feel free to bake a little longer if you don’t like it too gooey).
Top immediately with chocolate chips (as much as you’d like) and allow to melt slightly.
Top with ice cream and serve with a spoon. Perfect for late-night cravings and sweet tooth emergencies.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Mmmm….gooey peanut butter cookie…….

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Lemon Snowball Cookies…

Spring is just around the corner, and lately we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a few gorgeous, Spring days a little early. Which, naturally means I’m dying to get in my kitchen and whip up something with fresh, bright, lemony flavors. A couple of weeks ago, the weather was absolutely gorgeous- warm, sunny and breezy- so Joel and I decided to go on a picnic. He made us some sandwiches, and I whipped up some pasta salad and these tart, crunchy lemon cookies. They turned out to be the perfect picnic treat! We sat and munched on our cookies and soaked up the sun while Izzy chased a tennis ball around – it was an absolutely beautiful afternoon.

My two cuties!

We really must go on more picnics!

Lemon Snowball Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
confectioners’ sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and egg until well blended. Add lemon juice, peel and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned (cookies will not brown on top).

Transfer immediately to wire racks and cool for 5 minutes, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe source: allrecipes.com

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Giant Double Chocolate Cookies…

Are you ready for a chocolate explosion in your mouth?! These big, fat, gooey, chocolaty cookies are just that- an explosion of chocolate awesomeness. Annie posted these awhile back and I immediately thought, “oh, please let me have all the ingredients to make these cookies!” Sure enough, these are the BEST kind of cookies- the kind that require very few ingredients, all of which you most likely already have in your pantry/fridge! I LOVE cookies like that! The dough takes no time to throw together (and tastes AMAZING- seriously. I’m not a huge raw cookie dough eater, but this dough was irresistible!), and the cookies themselves are just melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I highly recommend these – they’ll satisfy any emergency chocolate craving in less than 20 minutes, and they’d also be wonderful for parties, get-togethers or after school snacks. Or co-workers. Mine couldn’t leave these alone; we all kept taking turns microwaving ours for a few seconds for optimum gooeyness. That’s a must, by the way. These cookies are best when warm- WITH milk!

Thanks to Joel for his wonderful hand modeling skills. Nobody can hold a cookie like he can. :)

Giant Double Chocolate Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.  Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly by hand to be sure the ingredients are well combined.

Divide the dough into 4 ounce portions (or divide into 12 equal pieces).  Roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc.  Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart.  Bake 16-20 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 very large cookies.

Recipe source: Annie’s Eats; originally seen on My Baking Addiction, inspired by Levain Bakery

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Joel, our friends, my parents, grandparents, co-workers, neighbors, brother-in-law, opera friends….these are all the people who claim these to be their all-time favorite chocolate chip cookies. That’s not something to be taken lightly. These cookies have been hastily featured on here before, but they most certainly did NOT receive the full respect and attention they deserve. Now, I know I’ve definitely made my fair share of chocolate chip cookies through the years, but just bare with me while I share just one more (for now!)- the BFCCCCs (Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies). I’ve honestly never made these for anyone who didn’t immediately say they were the best they’ve ever had, and I’ve made these a floppity-gillion times. That’s big. For me, it’s sort of a toss-up (and also depends largely on what mood I’m in) between these and the famous NY Times chocolate chip cookies. But for whatever reason, when I make chocolate chip cookies, it’s usually these. :) I realize the cookies in my pictures are not exactly “big and fat”- I prefer my cookies on the smaller side, so I always use a standard cookie scoop instead of the heaping 1/4 cup-size scoop it calls for.

You see that? That’s heaven in cookie form, right there! There’s not much better in life than a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. Honestly. Now, I can’t actually tell you where this original recipe started. It bares a striking resemblance to the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but with a few minor changes; yet the original recipe I first found was from allrecipes.com. Who knows. What I do know is, it’s delicious.

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly golden (If you’re making smaller cookies like mine, bake them for about 10 minutes). Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Makes approximately 12-14 very large cookies or 36 smaller cookies.

Recipe source: allrecipes.com

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