cookies

Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies

Some cookies are really about the memories for me. I remember making pressed cookies when I was a kid. I loved using the machine to press out dough in all sorts of magical shapes. My mother was so kind- she let me make whatever I wanted. We had one Christmas with a whole plateful of camels. The machine we had required turning a handle- watching carefully, and turning the handle backwards to stop the flow of the dough. There are much easier versions of cookie presses today. Mine has a ratchet which pushes out the right amount of dough with one click. I decided to make some little green trees and red flowers this year. These cookies are light and very crisp. Great for having with coffee. They are also fast to make, once you get used to the cookie press. The fun thing about using a cookie press is that you can crank out a high volume of pretty cookies in no time flat. They taste good, too. I used vanilla extract in the little trees. In the flowers, I added some sweet cherry flavor, which paired well with the vanilla.

 

Spritz Cookies

1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla*
½ t. salt
2½ c. flour
In mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in vanilla and salt. Tint dough, is desired. Add flour and stir until smooth. Using a cookie press with desired shape press cookies on to ungreased baking sheet. Leave about 1-inch between cookies. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes- cookies should be a light golden color around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen.

 * You can play around with other flavors. I often add mintextract or a fruit flavor to these cookies.

Soft Butter Cookies

Soft Butter Cookies

Soft Butter Cookies

If you are looking for a truly tender cookie, this is it. These cookies are so delicate, they just melt in your mouth!! The secret ingredient might surprise you. It is oil. Yes, I know I said butter cookies – they also contain butter. But the combination of oil and butter makes them soft and delicate, even days after baking. They also contain both granulated and powdered sugar. Not your typical cookie recipe, for sure.   This just may be my “go to” butter cookie recipe from now on.

I found a sheet of paper with the ingredients written on it. No directions, just ingredients listed and a notation about cooking time and oven temperature. I wish I knew where I got the recipe. I would certainly give the source credit. I did increase the amount of vanilla a little. You don’t have to chill the dough and they roll very easily, without sticking to your fingers. You could chill the dough, but let it warm up a little before rolling. The dough can also be made ahead and frozen- I tested it.

I dipped the tops of the raw cookies in sprinkles, but you could leave them plain and then roll in powder sugar, once baked and cooled, or drizzle with melted chocolate.

 

Soft Butter Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. oil

1 c. sugar

1 c. powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 T. vanilla

1 t. baking soda

1 t. cream of tartar

½ t. salt

4 ½ c. flour

 

In mixing bowl, beat together butter, oil, sugars and vanilla. Once well blended, beat in eggs. Stir in the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt, then add the flour, mixing until well combined. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into one inch balls and press tops of cookies in sprinkles or colored sugar, if desired. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, or until light golden on bottom. Leave cookies on baking sheets 3 minutes before placing on cooling rack. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Tech Support Cookies- Pecan Cinnamon Shortbread

Tech Support Cookies

Tech Support Cookies

There is a good reason for the odd name for these cookies. I have a great friend who is also a tech guy. Really knows his stuff. He has always been there when I have some tech trouble or a new tech toy. The only problem is he won’t let me pay him for his trouble. Well, he won’t take money. Our arrangement is that I cook stuff for him in exchange. I think I am getting a pretty good deal. He says that he is. He came over today to look at a problem I was having with my computer and I decided to bake some cookies for him. I even ended up creating a new cookie just for him. I started with my shortbread cookie recipe and added ground pecans and cinnamon. I also sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. They came out great. Here is the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Tech Support Cookies – Pecan Cinnamon Shortbread

1 c. sugar
2 c. butter
4 c. flour
¾ c. finely ground pecans
2 t. cinnamon
½ c. cinnamon sugar
Cream together sugar and butter. Stir in flour, nuts and cinnamon and press into 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and cut into squares. Bake in a 300 degree oven for an hour or until light brown around edges. Re-cut while warm. Makes 4 dozen.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

 

 

Alfajores

Alfajores

Alfajores

If you are looking for a new cookie you might want to try these. Made with cornstarch as a primary ingredient they are very crispy and light. Sandwiched together with dulce de leche they make a wonderful dessert.  These cookies are popular in a number of South American countries and in Spain although the origin is probably from the Middle East.

Alfajores

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. lemon rind, grated

1 1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Beat in vanilla and lemon rind. Sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to mixture and mix well. Drop batter by small spoonfuls onto well-buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove immediately. Sandwich the cookies together with (dulce de leche) sweet milk dessert. Makes 40 cookies.

Dulce de Leche (Milk Jam)

This is the easiest way to make Dulce de Leche…the taste is pretty authentic and the work is almost completely eliminated!

1 can sweetened condensed milk

 Place the can inside the pot on top of a wire rack. I use a round rack used for cooling cakes. If you don’t have a rack place a towel on the bottom of the pot. Add water to completely cover can, plus 1-2 more inches. Simmer for 4 hours, making sure the can is always completely covered with water…if not…there is an explosion!! Leave the can to cool several hours and only then open it and serve. Serve the golden-brown confection over flan, as a filling for crepes, cakes or just plain. For breakfast you can spread it on croissants, rolls or toast.

Cover cans of sweetened condensed milk with water

Cover cans of sweetened condensed milk with water

Dulce De Leche- this is what it looks like when you open the can

Dulce De Leche- this is what it looks like when you open the can

 

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