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by Heather Harris Brady

Anyone who’s been with this blog through the winter holidays knows that I have the same cookie lineup every year, but I continue to audition new prospects because never let it be said that I’m one to rest on my cookie laurels 😉

This is the first audition – a soft sugar cookie (which American readers will recognize as Lofthouse style). It has that same addictive cakey quality as the store-bought version, but with the twist of lemon poppyseed. It’s based on a compilation of recipes online with a few changes of my own. Sorry for the crappy picture, we’re really short on daylight at the moment!

I like the Scandinavian white-on-white coloring, but if you want to get crazy with frosting colors or sprinkles now would be the time!

Soft Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. lemon extract or bakery emulsion
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. poppyseeds

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. heavy cream

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then beat in the lemon flavoring and zest.

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Combine the remaining dry ingredients and half of them to the bowl. Beat well. Then beat in the yogurt.

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Add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat for another minute.

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Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up as a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 425. (I know, hot for a cookie recipe!)

Turn the dough out.

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Roll it out to about 1/3″ thick and cut. (I only worked with part of the dough at a time so I could make sure I kept the thickness consistent.)

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 6-7 minutes. I took them out right around the 7-minute mark.

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While the cookies are cooling make the frosting. (I didn’t do the step by step here to keep the post length down.)

Beat the sugar and butter together, drizzling in the flavoring and half the cream. Mixture will be thick. Continue beating, drizzling in the remaining cream as you go, until you reach your desired spreading consistency. I have a stand mixer so I just turn it to high and let it run for about five minutes at this point. The longer you beat the creamier your frosting will be.

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When the cookies are completely cool frost them.

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You can leave them out, uncovered for an hour or so, and the frosting will crust over just a bit. I froze mine on the sheet and then stacked them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container to freeze until the holidays.

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Four years ago: 12 Days of Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Braids
Two years ago: Apple Clafouti
One year ago: Holiday Biscotti


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by Heather Harris Brady

In my mind’s eye lately I’ve been thinking about a thick-ish oatmeal type bar cookie with fruit in the center, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. These are probably one of the weirdest cookies I’ve ever made, but they are really delicious. There are thin apple slices between two layers of oatmeal cookie and they bake up into a soft, moist chewy slice. You can add a 1/2 c. of chopped pecans or walnuts to these, but I left them out. Use the driest apple you can find for the inside.

I used a few Macintosh and after about six hours the cookies started getting soft so I had to put them in the refrigerator. This recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Great American Cookies cookbook, where they are called Johnny Appleseed Cookies. If you know someone who loves apple pie they will love these cookies!

Oatmeal Apple Cookie-Slices, Makes about 40

  • 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 2/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 firm cooking apples

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the first six ingredients in a mixing bowl.

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Beat in the butter, egg and vanilla.

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Line a 10″ baking pan with foil and grease the foil generously. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into a thin layer across the pan.

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Cover it with a layer of thin apple slices.

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Then roll out the rest of the oatmeal mixture between two pieces of waxed paper.

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Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Flop the oatmeal sheet over the pan and carefully peel back the waxed paper.

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It is super-thin and it might tear in spots (like mine did in the bottom left corner). Just patch it and put it into the oven for about 25 minutes. Everything will be okay, see?

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The dough bakes up into a pretty chewy, crackly oatmeal cookie.

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When it’s cooled cut the sheet into bars.

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These are best eaten the day they’re made in my opinion, but you can store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.

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One year ago: Quick Fruit Turnovers

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by Heather Harris Brady

We have a little office fitness challenge going on and when I looked at my daily routine I realized my snacks could use some work. I needed to bump up the protein. The problem was still keeping it snack-like, because while my brain says “eat healthy” all the other cells are an unruly mob shouting “give me cookies or give me death!”. Drama queens.

The cookie base is very close to a recipe from a recent edition of Cooking Light. These bars are the best compromise I’ve found so far, a larabar masquerading as a peanut butter cookie, ready not only for your desk but also summer hikes and trips to the beach.

Cookie Protein Bars, Makes about 18 3” x 2” bars

  • 1 c. natural peanut butter (just ground peanuts), creamy or chunky
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ½ c. vanilla protein powder
  • ½ bar – salted almond 70% chocolate bar, chopped

Filling

  • 1-1/2 c. peanuts
  • 1 c. medjool dates (soaked if necessary to soften them)
  • ½ bar – salted almond 70% chocolate bar
  • 1/3 c. protein powder

Preheat the oven to 375 and generously grease a 13 x 9 pan. To make the cookie base, stir together well the peanut butter, egg white, vanilla and protein powder.

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Stir in the chocolate bits and press the mixture in the pan. (It will be on the thin side but that’s okay.)

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Bake about 10 minutes, until the outside edges barely begin to brown. Let it cool while you make the filling.

Put the dates in a food processor and roughly chop, then pulse in the peanuts.

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Add the protein powder and chocolate, blend until the mixture begins to stick together.

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Press the date mixture on one half of the cookie base. Cut the rest of the cookie base into squares and put them on top of the date filling.

Chill thoroughly before cutting the stacked layers into bars.

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I like to wrap these individually and freeze them, ready to go for hikes and trips to the beach.

One year ago: Breton Butter Cake (Kouign Amann)

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by Heather Harris Brady

I’m cheating a little bit this week because it’s spring break and there’s a lot going on around here! So, old recipe but new look! For the filling I used white chocolate couverture, but you can use ganache or jam for the filling with royal icing for the decorations. However, the white chocolate sets up really fast so you can stack them in boxes quickly.

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Macarons, Italian Method, Makes about 36

200 g almond flour

200 g powdered sugar

[Variation: Add 3 T. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder for chocolate macarons]

200 g granulated sugar

50 g water

1/2 t. vinegar

150 g egg whites, divided into two 75 g portions

1/2 recipe chocolate ganache, or other filling of your choice

It’s easier if you premeasure everything and have it ready. Combine the almond flour [cocoa if you’re using it] and powdered sugar in a bowl. Mix well, I use an immersion blender. Add 75 g of egg whites and stir it into a thick paste.

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Combine the water, vinegar and granulated sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. Let it boil while you put the other 75 g of egg whites in a mixer bowl.

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Beat the whites until they hold stiff peaks. Turn the mixer down to stir if your sugar syrup is not quite at the soft ball stage. When the syrup comes to temperature, turn the mixer to high and pour the sugar syrup in a steady stream. Try to avoid the whisk if you can.

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Continue beating on high until the mixer bowl is no longer hot. The resulting italian meringue will be very stiff. Fold the almond paste into the meringue.

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Take some strong strokes at first to knock a little air out and then keep folding for about another 20 strokes. It’s perfect when you can drop some of the macaronage back into the bowl and it will hold its shape for 15 seconds before starting to slump back in. When you get close to 20 strokes just evaluate it one stroke at a time until you’re there.

If you decide to color them fold the color in now, just make sure to use heat-safe colors or your lovely macarons will turn brown quickly on the bottoms!

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Grease your cookie sheets and line them with parchment paper, or use a silpat. Pipe 1-1/2″ egg-shaped mounds. They won’t spread a lot so you can keep them fairly close. Drop each pan onto the counter three times to get any air bubbles out.

Preheat the oven to 300 and let the sheets sit out for about 15 minutes. The macarons will form a bit of skin on top.

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Bake for 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may want to change racks halfway through the baking time.

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After the cookies have cooled fill them and decorate the tops.

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One year ago: Pavlovas

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by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been teaching my kids how to cook, mainly my high-school age son for now but my daughter will be soon following in his footsteps. On his own he discovered this recipe in my copy of Nick Malgieri’s Ulimate Cookie Book, listed in there as Loaded with Chips Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’ve doubled the recipe (except for the chips because the mini chips cover more ground). Just don’t tell my son. . .

This is now his go-to cookie recipe and I’m proud to say he’s now carrying my tradition of taking homemade food to school parties!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Makes about 60

  • Two sticks of butter
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1-1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

Cream the sugars with the butter well.

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Then beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add everything else but the chips and beat for 2-3 minutes. Then beat in the chips. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Preheat the oven to 375 and drop teaspoons until a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Bake 12-15 minutes, go for the shorter time if you like them really chewy.

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Store the cookies in an airtight container, and add a slice of bread to keep them soft.

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One year ago: Caramel Teacake

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by Heather Harris Brady

I like to always have something in our cookie jar but I tend to get stuck in a cookie rut. This weekend I was going through my recipe box looking for something different and I found this:

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my grandma’s chocolate cookie recipe. She didn’t make cookies very often but when she did she used this recipe a lot of the time. She wrote it out for me when I left for college. Keep handwriting those recipes people, you never know what it might mean to someone later.

That said, I made some changes to her recipe because I really don’t use shortening any more. These cookies are darker and richer than I remember, Gram would approve.

Grandma’s Chocolate Drop Cookies, Makes about 40

1/2 c. butter, at room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar

1 egg

3 oz. dark chocolate, melted or 1/2 c. cocoa

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 t. vanilla

2-1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 t. salt

6 oz. mini-chips

1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional (Salted pecans would be amazing.)

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg followed by the melted chocolate and vanilla.

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I used part of this bad boy left from Christmas for the melted chocolate:

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Beat in the buttermilk and flour alternately, one half of each at a time. You’ll have a fluffy, creamy batter.

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Preheat the oven to 400 and drop teaspoons of batter onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

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Bake for about 10 minutes, until the centers loose their shine.

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Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

One year ago: Coconut Cream Pie

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We were getting into something of a rut lately, the cookie jar that was typically empty by the end of the week has been ending up with about a dozen lonely cookies languishing at the bottom.

So this weekend I changed things up. These cookies are like tiny little vanilla cakes, with dark chocolate chips sprinkled through them. They are a variation of jumbles, a very old cookie recipe that often includes dried fruits and spices. They are undoubtedly homemade and they are amazing with a cold glass of milk.

This recipe is based on one from an old issue of Quick Cooking magazine.

Old-Fashioned Cake Cookies, Makes about 36

1/2 c. soft butter

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. buttermilk, or 1/2 c. regular milk with 1 t. vinegar mixed in

1 c. dark chocolate chips

I typically just stir these up by hand. Cream the butter and sugar together, cream in the egg and the vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients together, and stir in half of them. Stir in the milk, and then the second half of the dry ingredients.

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Preheat the oven to 375 and drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned and the tops are dry.

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That darn day job has gotten in the way of my regular updates this week, as I finished over 150 gift baskets yesterday!

So, quickly, here is the recipe I use for vanilla crescents from The Old Vienna Cookbook, by Lillian Langseth Christiansen.

I’ll update the step by step yet this week!

Vanilla Crescents, Makes about 60

1 c. minus 2 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. pulverized hazelnuts or pecans
2-3/4 c. flour
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
Powdered sugar

Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in the flour. Stir in the egg yolk and extracts.

Chill the dough for at least an hour and up to overnight.

Flour a work surface and preheat the oven to 300. Shape the dough into crescents about 2″ long and 3/4″ wide. You fit them rather tightly on the cookie sheet because they will not spread.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until just barely colored. While they are hot roll them in powdered sugar and place them on racks or a paper bag to cool.

Store in tins or ziplock bags. Before serving dust them with additional powdered sugar. If you have time to make vanilla sugar, by adding half a vanilla bean to your powdered sugar a few days before baking that really makes these special.

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My Favorite Movies/Shows – Food Related

  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hundred Foot Journey
  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Master Chef (NPR)
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