Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Another recipe perfect for this time of year, Snickerdoodles are a loved holiday treat. Their characteristically cracked surface makes them easily spotted on many holiday tables. Snickerdoodles can be made soft or crisp depending on your taste. I prefer my Snickerdoodles to be crisp so I will make smaller balls of the dough for each cookie and will cook them a bit longer. For a softer cookie use more dough per cookie and let them bake for less time. This is another cookie that needs to be rolled out, so it should chill for at least an hour to be easily worked with. Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, and stir in remaining flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Combine the 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place balls of dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

This recipe is for chocolate lovers everywhere. These cookies stay gooey and moist even after they have cooled. Made with cake mix and cream cheese, they are an incredibly soft cookie so anyone who likes a cookie with a crunch should stay away. These cookies are delicious still warm and pair nicely with vanilla ice cream. The stark white of confectioner's sugar sprinkled on top of the dark brown of the cookie creates a beautiful juxtaposition on any table, and is perfect for this time of year as it alludes to snow. Enjoy!

(8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

This is a recipe for classic gingerbread cookies. The recipe makes about 30, depending on what shape you decide to cut them into. To make a gingerbread house, I would recommend doubling the recipe in order to ensure having enough dough to create all of the walls. Again as a rolled cookie this dough should chill in the fridge for at least an hour before being rolled out. These cookies have a distinctive spice taste to them, so if you prefer a sweeter gingerbread cookie I would add more sugar or substitute maple syrup for the molasses. I personally appreciate a strongly spiced gingerbread cookie so this recipe was great for me, I might even try adding a little bit more of the spices next time. Enjoy!

1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix in the melted margarine, evaporated milk, molasses, vanilla, and lemon extracts. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers. If necessary, increase flour by up to 1/2 cup to prevent sticking.
When the dough is smooth, roll it out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface, and cut into cookies. Place cookies on the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. The cookies are done when the top springs back when touched. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
Makes about 30 cookies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Here is a Christmas cookie recipe to counteract my Hanukkah cookie recipe. Since sugar cookies need to be rolled out it is important to chill the dough for at least one hour, but the longer the dough can set in the fridge the easier it will be to roll out. This recipe can be used with regular cookie cutters or with a cookie gun, like the one advertised at William Sonoma. This is a typical sugar cookie recipe which produces soft and chewy cookies, perfect for topping with icing, sprinkles, or just eating plain-it makes about 5 dozen cookies though so I would, again, recommend cutting this one down. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes.

Easy Rugalech for Hanukkah

I've always wanted to learn to make Rugalech, but I've always been too intimidated. Having to use a filling with the dough and roll them is a little different than dropping a spoonful of dough onto a cookie sheet. I figure for this Hanukkah I will finally face the challenge and attempt to make a good batch of home-made Rugalech (usually we just buy them from a good bakery). I found this recipe on, and it seems pretty simple to follow so hopefully I will be successful. Rugalech can have all different kinds of filling, this recipe calls for raisins but I prefer a chocolate or apricot filling. You could also use a raspberry jam. I will probably try with the chocolate, so I will just substitute chocolate chips in for the raisins. You can adjust the amount of cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top to taste. This recipe seems like it will make a good cookie. Enjoy!

1/2 pound butter
2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix butter or margarine, cottage cheese and flour together.
Roll the dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into triangular wedges. Sprinkle raisins into the broad end of the wedge along with cinnamon and sugar. Roll from the broad edge toward the pointed edge to form crescents. Sprinkle the crescents with cinnamon and sugar. Arrange the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.

Reese's Chocolate Cookies

I was first exposed to these cookies by a friend who lived a few doors down from me last semester. His girlfriend would bake him a batch every time she went home and, naturally, the rest of the floor would sneak into his room at steal some. As a member of the floor, it was my responsibility to join in the stealing. His now ex-girlfriend, Cait, likes to make her cookies very thick and chunky, so she drops very large amounts of dough onto her cookie sheet for each cookie. After getting the recipe from her I tried making smaller cookies to see which I prefer. I often like a thin, crisp cookie but I actually think that I prefer these thicker, the way I originally tasted them.
I like these cookies because they share a similar flavor to more typical peanut butter cookies but are unique in that they are actually a chocolate cookie. One of my favorite flavor combinations, usually cookies sharing peanut butter and chocolate are done by having a peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips. This is just the opposite; a chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips. Rather than biting in and getting a piece of chocolate, you get a chunk of peanut butter, which I just love. I actually don't like peanut butter cookies because of their texture (they are often dry) but these avoid that issue since they are primarily a chocolate cookie. I strongly recommend this recipe, but would advise to cut it in half because this version makes about 50 cookies. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4-1/2 dozen cookies