Archived entries for cookies and treats

Lets Get Crunchy: Make Your Own Granola

Hey you! Do you want to make your own granola, but are afraid you can’t.  Just a short time ago, I, too was in your place.  But since then, I have conquered my fears and I HAVE MADE my own granola.  In this short blog post, I will help to empower you to do so as well.  But before we can move forward, first we have to deal with whats been holding us back.

Here are the top 3 most misleading assumptions about making your own granola.

  1. You can only get the ingredients for granola from an organic bulk foods co-op.
  2. Making your own granola is time consuming and difficult.
  3. To make your own granola, you must have dreadlocks, live in a commune AND be a fan of the Grateful Dead.

These are all FALSE!  I have easily made granola with ingredients from a regular grocery store and I HATE the Grateful Dead.  Granola is just a hodge-podge of ingredients, mainly just rolled oats and a sweetener.  Additional ingredients of seeds, nuts and dried fruit add to the outcome but are not necessary.   You don’t really need to follow a recipe, but it does help when making it for the first few times.  With the help of my Father-in-law’s time trusted recipe, you can experience the joys of your first homemade granola.  Tie-dyed apparel is not mandatory.

Leonard’s Big Batch of Granola
makes 1 1/2 quarts or 12 cups

Part A:

  • 8 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. wheat bran
  • 1/2 c. ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. veg oil
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Part B:  1/2 c. of any or all to make 2-4 c. total

  • raisins
  • dry sweet cranberries, cherries, blueberries or other fruit
  • seeds: pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • shredded coconut
  • nuts: pecan, walnut, hazel, or almonds

Preheat Oven to 275/300 max.

Mix Part A: Mix oats, bran, flax seed and vanilla in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix veg oil, honey, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Pour liquid mixture over the oats mix and blend to coat.

Bake Part A: Place mixture in baking sheet(s) with sides.  Bake for 3: 15 minutes time periods, removing trays in between to stir/flip granola to create an even bake.

Prepare part B: Mix together you selections of seeds, nuts and dried fruits to create 2-4 c. total.  These are the ingredients which can make granola expensive, so you can cut back to 2 c. if you wish to save money.

Add Part B and Bake: After 3rd 15 minute bake (45 minutes total), remove from oven and dump oats mixture into a large bowl.  Add your 2-4 c. of Part B (dried fruit, nuts and seeds).  Stir to mix.  Place back on baking sheet(s) and bake for 15 more minutes.

Eat! And your done.


Gone In 60 Seconds: Mustang Cookies

You need some deliciousness FAST? A 200 horsepower V-8 engine in these vintage 66 fastback mustangs go from zero to chewy so fast and furious that they hit the vanishing point and are gone in 60 seconds. Lets hit the two lane table-top and get cookin!

Sugar Cookies
makes about 5 dozen

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Royal Icing
makes about 3 cups

  • 3 oz. egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 c. powdered sugar

Mix Batter: Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet batter until well mixed.

Chill dough: Seperate dough ball into two balls and wrap each in cellophane. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Cut Cookies:  Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out about 1/4″ – 1/8″ thick and cut using cookie cutters.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Make Royal Icing: In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired.  Use immediately.

Decorate how you prefer.  I coated my cars with a nice candy apple red coat and then black lines for accent.

Eat! Gentlemen, start your engines.  On your mark, get set, GO!

Coco Crackles

I always loved these cookies when I was a kid, but I always forget about them. When I stumbled upon the recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookie Book, I HAD to add them to this years list. Delish!

Coco Crackles
makes about 4 dozen

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
  4. Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

How To Eat (and spell) Meringues: Peppermint Meringues

I decided to make meringues this year because

1. I had frozen egg whites left over from a recipe which required only yolks.
2. I really need to learn how to spell the word meringue.

This is a Martha Stewart (who I have decided to now refer to as only MSrecipe.  It is easy, fun and very pretty.  I shortened it slightly to make it easier for my lazy self.  The MS recipe has you make a ganache and make sandwiches.  Feel free to do this.  However, I am lazy and I believe these little bite sized bits make wonderful cookies on their own. So I didn’t.

Peppermint Meringues
makes 5 dozen

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Red gel or regular red food coloring

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Using a double boiler technique, place egg whites and sugar in heat safe bowl over a pot of  simmering water.  If you have a stand mixer, use the metal bowl of your mixer.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer with whisk attachment.  Mix egg whites until firm peaks form.  10 min or so.  Mix in peppermint extract.

Line a few baking trays parchment paper.  Set up a pastry bag with a star tip.  Larger or small works. I like the large one.  Paint stripes on the inside of the bag using red gel or dye going from the tip to the outer edge of the bag.  Fill with your egg white mixture.  Pipe meringues onto parchment.  You can do them pretty close together as they won’t expand while baking.  Refill bag as necessary, repainting the stripes each time.

Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, 60-90 minutes.  I know this is a large range, but its at a low temp.  Just check on them at an hour and if they’re not quite hard, keep them going.

(Tip: Don’t remove tray from the oven during the baking time.  I know you may be tempted to remove them to photograph them for your food blog, but don’t.  They will sink and look wrinkly. So don’t do this.)

So after they come out of the oven, let them cool on the tray before removing, and then you can just go ahead and eat that stuff!

Scotch Rosemary Biscuit Cookies

A Forkable original recipe developed for The Gift of Goodness Butter Blog!

For scotch lovers, here’s an awesome, unique recipe which pairs the piney aromatic flavor of rosemary with the smokey tones of a nice peaty scotch in a delicious butter biscuit cookie.  A rich Wisconsin Parmesan cheese helps set off the sweet flavor with a nice salty taste.  Plus, they’re SUPER easy to make.  Lets get cookin.

Scotch Rosemary Biscuit Cookies
makes 3 dozen

  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs scotch (peaty and smokey)
  • 1 tsp rosemary chopped fine + 1 tsp chopped for garnish
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. roughly grated Wisconsin Parmesan

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter together with honey and sugar.  Blend in egg, cream and scotch.  Once nicely blended, add 1 tsp chopped rosemary.  Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a slightly sticky batter.  Roll batter into a log and wrap with cellophane.  Chill for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Slice dough in 1/4” slices.  On a plate, mix granulated sugar with chopped rosemary.  Press cookies into sugar and chopped rosemary and then sprinkle a small amount of grated Parmesan on top.

Lay out on baking sheet about an inch apart.  I suggest using parchment paper or a silicon mat on your baking tray to help reduce risk of burning.  Bake cookies for 15 – 18 minutes until bottoms are lightly golden and cheese is caramelized.  Set out to cool on wire rack.  Store in air tight container.

Since these cookies are made with scotch, a cute idea for holiday wrapping is to give them in rock glasses, new or vintage.  Like you’re serving scotch in cookie form!  Awesome, right?  I served mine up on a vintage platter, wrapped in cellophane to keep the freshness in and tied up with a pretty, rosemary colored bow.  As a small added bonus, I wrapped mine with a mini bottle of scotch to go along with the cookies.  These cookies are super easy to prepare and make a great holiday gift. Drink up!

Red Currant Gingersnappers

Gingersnaps are my favorite cookie.  No contest.  A classic; tried and true.  I also love red currants.  Luckily this small tart berry is very popular with Eastern Eurpoeans.  I say “luckily” because I happen to live in an Eastern European neighborhood, and I was feeling quite lucky when I found some dried currants at my local Polish market.

Because currants are so small, tart and tasty, I thought a marriage between them and my favorite gingersnap cookie recipe couldn’t go wrong.  I’m glad to say I was right.  Here it is:

Gingersnaps with Red Currants
makes about 5-6 dozen

  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 well-beaten eggs
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 3 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2-3 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 c. dried currants**

**If you can’t find currants, you can use raisins or whatever other small dried fruit, chopped if it comes in large pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together.

Add beaten eggs, molasses and vinegar and mix well.  Mix in currants.

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix into your batter until well blended.

Spoon dough into 1″ balls and hand roll to be round.  Roll balls in a bowl of sugar until outside is coated.  Place 1-2″ apart on a lined or greased baking sheet.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes or so.

Store in sealed containers for multiple weeks, or until they’re all eaten, which probably will only be a few days.  Enjoy!

-Original Gingersnap recipe from The Joy Of Cooking.

Delicate and Divine: Lavender Wafers

The delicate and subtle flavor of lavender always conjures up ethereal images of dreamlike romance. Incorporating this flavor into food guarantees a nosh for the most sophisticated pallets. When paired with the delicate cakey-ness of this cookie, you’ve got a recipe which simply cannot be beat!

Although dried lavender is not easily found at a general grocery store, you can find pretty inexpensively at specialty spice shops as well as growing in your neighbor’s summer flower bed. The lavender I used was given to me frozen from my parent’s summer stash.

Lavender Wafers
makes 6 dozen

  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 well beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried lavender
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • additional dried lavender for topping (1-2 Tbs)

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. water
  • couple drops of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add beaten eggs, vanilla and lavender, and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.  Add dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well blended.

Spoon 1 tsp batter onto lined or greased baking sheets 1-2″ apart from each other.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges of cookies are brownish yellow.

Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, mix up your glaze.  Add sugar and corn syrup into bowl.  Gradually add water until you get the consistency you like.  I like to add a few drops of lemon juice to give it just a light hint of citrus.

Spread glaze over cookies.  While glaze is wet, sprinkle with dried lavender.  Let sit for an hour or two for glaze to dry.

Store in air tight containers.

Anise Puffs

Anise may not be everyone’s favorite flavor, but those who love it REALLY LOVE IT. I fall in the last group. This recipe for anise cookies is very easy if you have a stand mixer. One of the steps is mixing the batter for 30 minutes. No problem if you can press go and walk away. It is a little more annoying if you have to stand there, holding a hand blender for those 30 minutes. And if you don’t have a mixer, I would say, don’t even try it. However, if you do have a stand mixer, this recipe is a cinch! Oh, and did I mention, delicious.

Anise Puffs

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract
  • lemon zest

Generously butter and flour baking trays

Beat eggs till froth

Add sugar and beat on medium speed for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, add flour, anise, and zest.

Beat for 5 more minutes.

Drop batter using a tsp 1″ apart.

Stand at least 10 hours at room temp.

Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees until puffed. Don’t over cook this cookie, because it quickly dries out in the oven and becomes hard like a rock.

These cookies are puffy and delightful, like little anise flavored snow banks.

My Heirloom Christmas Cookie: Pfeffernuesse

Pfeffernuesse, (pronounced fe-fer-noose) is a delightfully cakey, spiced cookie.   This is one of the few recipes passed down from my Austrian Great-Grandmother.  The secret to these cookies is DON’T OVER COOK them.  If they are baked too long, they become a little too Bob Seger-ish.  Y’know… “like a rock!”  They are very easy to make and totally delicious.  Give it a try, just keep an eye on them in the oven.

Pfefferauesse

  • 3/4 c. molasses
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of pepper

In a saucepan, combine molasses and butter.  Stir until butter melts.  Remove from heat and cool to room temp.

Once cooled, stir in eggs.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Add to molasses mixture. Mix until a stiff dough forms.  Chill for 30-60 minutes.

Shape into 1″ balls.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. To see if they are done, check the bottom.  As soon as it starts to turn brownish, its done.  You want the cookies to be moist and soft on the inside.   Roll in confectioners sugar.

Santa’s Favorite: Minty Chocolate Pinwheels

The cold crisp flavor of mint is the perfect representation of Christmas through taste.  I remember loving these cookies as a small child for their fun colorful appearance as well as for the addictive moist chewy cookie coated in chocolate.  Although they look a bit complicated, they are not that hard to make and worth the effort!

Minty Choclate Pinwheels

  • 1 pkg. Mint-chocolate chips*
  • ¾ c. butter softened
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2¼ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt

*For the cookies seen above, I used green colored mint chips.  If you use chocolate flavored chips, the cookies will be white and black.

Melt ½ cup chips in double boiler. (Reserve the rest of the chips for the topping) Cool. Set aside.

In bowl, combine butter & sugar beat until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Gradually add flour and salt.

Place 1 cup dough in bowl. Add melted chips, blend thoroughly.

Shape into ball; flatten and cover with plastic wrap. Shape remaining dough the same.

Chill both until firm ( about 1 ½ hours).

Roll each ball between waxed paper into 13” x 9” rectangle. Place chocolate dough on plain dough and roll up lengthwise-jelly roll style. (Chilling dough at this point makes cutting easier)

Cut into ¼ inch slices and bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Melt remaining chips and spread on flat side of each cookie.

Leave these for Santa and a new PS3 under the tree is pretty much a gaurantee!  (How is that for a Christmas Poem?)



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