Travel Theme: Sweet

Thank you to Where’s My Backpack for this week’s Sweet challenge!. This challenge is just to my taste. Enjoy!

Image

Fiesta Cookies*

Makes about 36 medium size cookies.

Soft, piped cookies lightly flavored with chocolate and spices, decorated with icing and nonpareils.

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. ground nutmeg

1/8 t. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter

3/4 c. + 2 T. confectioner’s sugar

1 lg. egg

1 t. almond or vanilla extract

1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

Icing of your choice

Nonpareils

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter and confectioner’s sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. On lowest mixer speed, beat in dry ingredients and then chocolate.
  4. Using a heavy duty pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe cookie dough onto baking sheets, spacing cookies 1 1/2” apart. Cookies will not rise, spread or change shape while they bake.
  5. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes or until set. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool before decorating.
  6. Once cookies have cooled, decorate with icing and nonpareils.

Suggested shapes for piping: thick bars, stars, hearts, and wreaths.

 * Recipe from my cookbook, Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections.

2LC Monthly Cooking Challenge: Mexican Wedding Cookies

Thank you once again to Bebe and Ridha for hosting this month’s Two Little Chefettes Cooking Challenge. The theme for this month is nuts. I just made a batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies – the pecan version – to put out for our guests. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

 Image

Mexican Wedding Cookies*

Makes about 32

Known by various names, including Russian Tea Cakes, these buttery nut cookies, rolled in confectioner’s sugar, are good for entertaining because you can make them up to a week ahead of time and store them in an airtight container without any loss of quality.

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

2 T. confectioner’s sugar + about 1/2 c. extra for rolling cookies

1 t. vanilla extract*

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. pecans or walnuts finely chopped or ground to the texture of coarse kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 T. of the confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla extract. On lowest speed, beat in flour and then nuts. The mixture will be very crumbly.
  3. Spoon a small about (about 1 heaping teaspoon) of mixture into one of your palms. Squeeze lightly until the mixture holds together then shape into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, spacing the balls well apart on the 2 baking sheets.
  4. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Once cool, roll the cookies in confectioner’s sugar until well coated. If desired, roll a second time.

This recipe is from my cookbook, Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections.

 Image

Bumpkins with Pure White Cookie Icing

These pumpkin oatmeal cookies are absolutely one of my favorite cookies to serve during autumn months. I made them yesterday afternoon for my guests. The recipes are from my cookbook, Confectionately Yours.

Bumpkins

Makes about 34 cookies

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. rolled oats

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/4 t. ground mace

1/4 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. packed pumpkin puree

1 lg. egg

1 t. vanilla extract

2/3 c. walnuts, finely chopped

2/3 c. baking raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, pitted and chopped fresh dates, and/or chopped prunes, combined

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. On lowest speed of mixer, beat in dry ingredients until well combined and then stir in nuts and fruit.
  4. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets spacing cookies 3” apart.
  5. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are just set and are lightly browned on the bottoms. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Serving suggestions: once cooled drizzle with Pure White Cookie Icing.

Pure White Cookie Icing

This icing will add  just a little sweetness to your baked goods, and will make them see a little moister, but is primarily used for decoration.

 

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 T. milk

2 t. light corn syrup

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Stir in milk and light corn syrup until perfectly smooth. The mixture will be a little on the thick side, but should pour from a spoon in a slow, smooth stream.
  2. Drizzle or pipe onto cooled baked goods right away. (This is thick enough to pipe thin lines but not thick enough to pipe firm shapes.)

Just Out of the Oven: Chai Spice Snickerdoodles

Soft and sugary, but spicy too, Chai Spice Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I just baked this batch for our guests.

Chai Spice Snickerdoodles*

2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/8 t. ground cardamom

1/8 t. ground nutmeg

3/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 granulated white sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 t. almond extract

3 T. spiced sugar (2 T. + 1 t. granulated white sugar blended with 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 1/4 t. ground ginger, 1/8 t. ground cardamom, and 1/8 t. ground nutmeg)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then beat in extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients just until well combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls. Roll dough between palms to form balls and then roll the balls in the spiced sugar mixture. Place 3 inches apart on baking sheets.

6. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until just set and slightly golden. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Enjoy!

* Recipe from my second cookbook, Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections.

Lake House Cookies & Photos From the Lake

When I woke up this morning, I was craving these cookies, so after breakfast I made a batch. One good thing about running a bed and breakfast … having guests is always a great excuse to make cookies! After the recipe, I have included a photo of the cookies and pictures from my recent trip to the Adirondacks. Tomorrow, back to Kansas themes!

Lake House Cookies*

Makes about 28

Soft white chocolate chip cookies flavored with rum and studded with cranberries, coconut and walnuts. 

1 c. all-purpose flour (substitute white rice flour for gluten-free cookies or if you prefer crisper cookies)

3/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

1 lg. egg

3/4 t. rum extract

5 oz. real white chocolate, chopped or 1 c. white chocolate chips

1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and rum extract. On lowest mixer speed, beat in dry ingredients and then white chocolate, cranberries, coconut and walnuts.
  4. Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets leaving about 3” between cookies. Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and just barely set.  Place baking sheets wire racks and allow cookies to cool.

Lake House Cookies

Forget Me Not Cookies

Yesterday I was looking at a post by Big Hungry Gnomes about a tempting-looking dessert, called Eaton Mess. That dessert is made with little meringues which reminded me of one of my favorite little cookies. Forget Me Nots are wonderful to make in warm weather because you just preheat the oven in the morning, pop the cookies in, turn the oven off and then the cookies are ready for a late afternoon snack … all cool, crisp, and sweet.  These chocolate and nut filled meringues are the first cookies that I learned to make …  thanks, Mom! … and I still make them.

Forget Me Nots

Makes about 32 cookies

2 lg. egg whites

1/2 t. vanilla extract

1/8 t. salt

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips or 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 c. finely chopped walnuts

Note: Sometimes I get carried away and add a whole bunch of butterscotch chips too, which makes the cookies really chunky.

  1. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes or until they have come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Add vanilla and salt to egg whites. Beat until stiff but not dry peaks form. Very gradually beat in sugar until shiny, stiff peaks form. (Peaks are shiny and tips stand up straight.)
  4. Fold in chocolate and walnuts.
  5. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets spacing cookies at least 2” apart. Place baking sheets in oven. Close the door and turn the oven off.  Without opening the door, let the cookies sit in the oven for 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Remove baking sheets from oven. Use a thin metal spatula to lift cookies off parchment paper.