Toffee Cookies with Chocolate and Cayenne

I hate Valentine’s Day. Wait, not quite correct. I hate all card-company made up holidays that make you think you need to purchase a (cheesy) card for someone and basically waste money. These holidays include both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days too. Ugh, so gross.

Valentine’s the the most egregious though made up holiday.  Overpriced roses that have no smell whatsoever. A meal out that is meh at best and again, overpriced. Pressure for the whole evening and lord help you if you have just started a new relationship. Just wait and ask her/him out in March or something. Go out for Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day – it worked for me.

That said, I took a recent cookie recipe and make sweet little heart cookies with chocolate and then did the perfect thing – added cayenne. Hey, why not, right?

D&D_260816 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon
cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel and a pinch or so of cayenne – let your conscious be your guide here. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies – all depends on your cookie cutter.

*It took more than 10 minutes – way more – just leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Johnson Brothers – Old Britian Castles – pink.

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies

Most people think Mardi Gras is just a New Orleans thing, but that could not be further from the truth. Mardi Gras is huge in Mobile, AL and in Pensacola as well. I would list all the krewes we have here, but the list is long enough to make you bored.

Season starts on 12th Night, the day the 3 Magi brought their gifts to the baby Jesus and goes until Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday, when we all start trying to behave a little better. Carnival gives us something to do when it is cold and miserable outside – drink copious amounts of alcohol and be loud.

We won’t even get into the Moon Pies. I just cannot explain that to even my own satisfaction.

Well, I know I make these cookies every, um, yes, every year, but they are fun and this sugar cookie recipe is just the absolute best. As much as I hate roll-out cookies, these always work. Simple and done. I keep buying different colors of sugar all year long – hey, you never know when you will need them.

dd_11801 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Sift flour into butter mixture, 1 cup at a time until just combined. Dump out onto plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Cover with plastic and chill 3 to 4 hours (*or overnight or even a day or two).

Roll out dough until 1/4 inch and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Brush and sprinkle with colored sugars. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 – 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

You do have to be careful with such large cookie cutters because those sized cookies can break easier than smaller, more compact cookies.

Here are the cutters. Reasonably priced from King Arthur Flour. They do require hand-washing and drying immediately, but that is not a huge deal since there are only 5 cutters. They are sturdy and easy to use.

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Smoked Almond Toffee Mini Milk Chocolate Kisses

Ever since I tried smoked almonds a few months ago I’ve been planning on making some kind of cookies with them. So here we are.

D&D_266016 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
8 ozs toffee pieces
5 ozs mini milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add almonds, toffee, and kisses.

Scoop dough onto baking sheet with a couple inches in between. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt if you’re in the mood. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning the pans half way through.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Mod Meals on Mendenhall & cute firefighter guys never hurt. Recipe modified by, um, me.

2 Feb 2018

Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Here I am with another roll-out cookie. Why do I keep doing this to myself? This is my least favorite part of baking – cookies, crackers, pie crusts – rolling things out – even if I do have a great rolling pin – which I do. French rolling pin – made in America. Yep. D&D-9181

You get the idea. Ugh. But this just seems like such a good idea that I could not help myself.

I also plan to do this in my two day method to see if it works – make dough day one, and bake and chocolate on day two. We’ll see, as always.

Baked the cookies one day and did the chocolate bit the next day and then had way too much fun with the toppings – walnuts, Maldon salt, red sprinkles, and a little cayenne. And then did pretty much an evil thing. Mixed up all the cookies in the same container. Take a risk and see what you get. Let’s just say I put the cayenne on the smallest cookies. I think I really like bittersweet chocolate with cayenne. But pretty sure not all my friends will. Like I’ve said before my “test kitchen tasters.”

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16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a 2-inch round cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies.

Source: The Kitchn adapted from Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson. I think you could sub out other nuts. I did – used walnuts but pecans were called for in the original recipe. Pistachios might be excellent as well, especially with the color contrast on the dark chocolate. Love me some pistachios, but I am keeping this bag for baking not for just munching on. Maybe. We shall see.

*Well, 10 minutes in the fridge was no where near enough. I did, sort of, leave the butter out for a couple of many days. So I left the dough in the fridge overnight and it worked out just fine. Not as an easy dough as the chocolate sugar cookie dough from the other day, but not too difficult.

Pistachio Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I just cannot resist an oatmeal cookie – with one exception – no chocolate chips in an oatmeal cookie. That is just a very cruel joke – you know what I mean, right. Think it is a raisin and – groan – chocolate.

I know the oatmeal cookie is the red-headed step child of cookies, but it is one of my favorites. Besides, if you like them, you get lots of them when someone brings in cookies from the Publix. The chocolate chip goes right away and the M&M ones too. Leaving poor sad oatmeal cookies just for me (and my friend Dana). Then you can feel superior eating cookies for breakfast. Yes, indeed.

Cookies:
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

Icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt

D&D_2588Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt and then stir in oats.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and melted butter until combined. Crack in the egg and pour in the vanilla. Whisk one more time until the egg is thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring in between additions until combined. Lastly, fold in the pistachios.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough, spacing them about 2 1/2-inches from one another on a the baking sheets. These cookies read a lot, so be sure to leave enough room. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they spread and the edges are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move the cookies onto a cooling rack.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and salt. When the cookies are cool, drizzle the icing on top.

Source: A Cozy Kitchen.com

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They are also good without any icing at all. Like a cool breakfast cookie – that makes it sound healthy, right? Yum.

Brownie Roll Out Cookies

I try to make chocolate things for the other people in my life because they just are not for me. Chocolate  – meh-ish to me. This seemed like an interesting idea though. Kind of, basically, a chocolate sugar cookie and then you can mess about with the toppings. Toppings that are mostly sugar and I do love the crunch of that.

D&D_2593I remember when I first started making my favorite sugar cookies,  I would just put plain old white sugar on them. They were beautiful and I just loved the crunch. The Boy did too. So simple – nothing extra to buy and just lovely. I see these cookies in the same light. I’ve said it so many many times, simple is often just the best.

I really like to get input on what I do and the Boy is always an interesting source. See his ideas below.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
16 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 unsweetened cocoa
Sanding sugars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time then add vanilla and cocoa. Add flour a little at a time and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on baking sheet, top with any kind of crunchy sugar (this time raw sugar and pretty white sanding sugar), and bake for 8 to 11 minutes until edges are firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source: smittenkitchen.com/2008/04/brownie-roll-out-cookies/

Dough 31 December 2017

Bake 4 January 2018 @ midnight – lovely. Ugh – it is just what I do. I cannot help myself.

Bake 5 minutes, turn, and bake for 3 more.

New idea for toppings – mostly from my chief taste-tester – the Boy – raw sugar/Maldon and cayenne. Or brickle bits maybe w/some cayenne as well.

Really easy dough to roll out which make it a favorite for me because I pretty much hate rolling out dough for cookies or crackers – kind of  totally annoying.

Buttery Sugar Cookies

I have my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I make every Christmas and on a lot of other holidays (Mardi Gras, St. Pat’s, um, and other stuff, I’m sure – don’t do anything for the non-holiday Valentine’s Day – blech.) But it is always my favorite Christmas cookies and I’ll be damned if they do not stand the test of time.

That said, I wanted to give this new-comer a chance. And hello, and hell, yes. Excellent cookies – different, but still very very good.

D&D_255716 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarse sanding sugar – more colours the better

Beat together butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly mix in flour.

Half the dough and press each half into a disk, then wrap in wax paper. Put each disk in a resealable plastic bag and chill until firm enough to roll into balls, about 1 hour. I left mine in for 2 days – worked just fine. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with parchment

Work with 1 piece of dough at a time and roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll that ball in coarse sanding sugar in a shallow bowl to coat. Move fast and don’t let dough get soft – if it does – back the fridge it goes. Place balls 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. With the flat bottom of a glass, flatten balls into 2-inch rounds. Add more sugar. I did.

Bake cookies until bottoms are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 2 minutes, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled (important) baking sheets.

Source: Gourmet

I really liked these cookies. They were different than the typical roll-out sugar cookies and that, in my opinion, is not a bad thing. I love to bake, but rolling out cookie dough – not my favorite thing to do. I am kind of lazy that way.

M & M Cookies for Christmas Eve

I have no idea why my mother made M & M cookies for Christmas, but she always did. I love them and make them many more times a year. Usually for Christmas, I just make them with regular M & Ms. I do miss the tan colored M & Ms. Although I get why the blue ones go with the really weird Christmas lights we had. There were red, green, blue, and orange and the bulbs were pretty much huge. So maybe the M & M cookies made sense in a strange sort of way. But blue and orange Christmas tree lights – why?

D&D_2542

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
1 1/2 cups plain M & M’s or more as the case may be.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together Crisco and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add vanilla. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 batches, scraping down the mixing bowl as needed. Add M & M’s and stir to combine.  Use a #30 disher to scoop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until golden – turning half way through.

10 December 2005
24 December 2011 – apparently the Boy really likes these
25 December 2013 – for the Boy
8 June 2015 – for the Boy for Bonnaroo
14 August 2015
2 April 2016 – Easter – pastel M & Ms
14 January 2017 – 1/2 crisco / 1/2 unsalted butter
22 December 2017 – Christmas M & Ms – red/green; #30 scoop

Christmas Sugar Cookies

These cookies are required for Christmas. These are also forgiving and amazingly good. They are crisp and believe it or not, not that sweet. I use them many times a year. You can make ahead and divide dough into pieces to bake a little at a time.

D&D_25491 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer,  cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Sift flour into butter mixture, 1 cup at a time until just combined. Dump out onto plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Cover with plastic and chill 3 to 4 hours.*

Roll out dough until 1/4 inch and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Brush and sprinkle with colored sugars. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 – 10 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

December 2002 – best sugar cookies ever
January 2003 – bake on parchment, spilled sugar comes off easier than a Silpat – for cast boy – granulated sugar is pretty too.
24 December 2003 – 8 minutes, to D&S for Christmas Eve
24 December 2004 – vvg as always
24 December 2006
December 2007
December 2008
February 2012 – Mardi Gras
28 January 2014
19 January 2016 – Mardi Gras practice

30 December 2016 – new Moravian cookie cutters

22 December 2017 – made dough; 23 December baked. Made a few St Pat’s day too.

*Or overnight. This dough keeps pretty damn well for a few days as long as it is properly wrapped.

Lemon Snowballs

These kind of tasted like lemon coolers to me. Do you remember them? I have a vague recollection that they were a cheap-ish store (Winn Dixie) brand, but I liked them because they were, 1) lemon, 2) tart, 3) powdery.

You cannot make this recipe with out the lemon juice powder. Well, I would not anyway. I bought it a couple of months ago because I figured I could make it work into all the kinds of lemon things that I love – and there are a lot of them. And it does – it add lots of lemon flavor without any liquid. Don’t get me wrong, I like lemon extract, but there is sometimes something a little chemically that I do not care for. I prefer fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest and now lemon powder is add to the bullpen.D&D_2396

Cookies
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour

Coating
2 cups confectioners’  sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice powder (King Arthur Flour)
lemon sugar (also, King Arthur Flour)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and salt until soft and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar, and lemon zesst. Add the flour, mixing until well combined, but do not overmix.

Form the dough into 1″ balls using a small cookie scoop #40. Place the balls on an parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. They should be very light brown on the bottom, and feel set on top. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes before disturbing; Caution: fragile when warm.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon powder and place in a shallow bowl. Roll the warm cookies in the sugar/lemon coating. Let the cookies cool completely, then re-roll cookies in the sugar mixture and top with a little lemon sugar.

When completely cool, store cookies in airtight containers for 1 week. Mine did not last that long.

Source: King Arthur Flour, obviously.