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Tag Archive for cookies

::little luxuries:: French Macarons

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Thankfully, most of my family doesn’t even pay attention to this site. Because of this, I can admit to the following. Now that I have started working again and I am getting back into the swing of things, I am totally going to take advantage of having babysitters that are here after work twice a week to get some posting done. It might be a while before I get into crazy recipes again. Finding the time to take photos while cooking is a whole new challenge. Luckily, I have a backlog of quite a few recipes to write up. Who know, maybe this will give me an opportunity to tweak and perfect some recipes too.

In the meantime… One of my maternity leave goals (pre-baby) was to learn how to make French Macarons. It was successful! Have you had one? It is a delightful little almond flour meringue cookie sandwiched with a bit of whatever filling you can dream of. You can flavor the cookies or not. They have the perfect combination of soft & chewy and crispy & crunchy. A bit of magic in your mouth.

For Valentine’s Day I gave my husband a dozen roses  :0) I am a super cheeseball. We are suckers for flower flavors. I have a thing for lavender and he likes rose. So, my first batch of macarons was a pink cookie with either lavender or rose buttercream filling. Recipe will come soon eventually. For now, what other flavors should I try once I find the time to spend on these delightful little bites?

::kitschy kitchen:: Star Wars Sugar Cookies

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We go to the mall almost every Wednesday. This week we’ll go today because of the holiday. PTB buys his comics on that day. I get a treat at Starbucks and a chance to browse Williams Sonoma. It’s silly, and really the only thing we manage to do consistently, but we always have fun with our mini-trip.

I really enjoy it when, not only do I manage to drag him into Williams Sonoma with me but, he buys me something! Well, I guess this doesn’t totally count as being exclusively for me. I have never ever managed to even stay awake through an entire Star Wars movie. So yeah. But the part that is for me was the cookie recipe and my first set of cookie cutters. Although, these are more of cookie presses I guess.

I’ve never been let down by the recipes that come with my Williams Sonoma toys and these cookies were no different. The cookie cutters were incredibly easy to use, so if you have a Star Wars fan buy them now before they are gone!! As long as you kept the dough chilled and didn’t let it start to melt while you were cutting, the dough doesn’t get stuck in even the tiniest of details. And since they are presses, it makes every bit of dough turn into the perfect cookie. Just shove the last bits into a mold, press, and perfect cookie!

What You Need
Step One

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 egg
Step Two
1 cup sugar
Step Three
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Step Four
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Seriously. Take your butter and egg out ahead of time. Don’t fake room temp butter. Leaving it out ahead of time DOES make a difference!

In an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar. Beating for approx. 2 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

In a small bowl, sift together step four ingredients. Add half the mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low until no longer dry. Add the remaining flour and continue on low until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a disc and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. This is my favorite part because I only make half the cookies at a time. That way, two days later, we have a fresh batch of cookies with very little work!

Once you are ready to make the cookies preheat the oven to 350F and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4″ thick.

Don’t be afraid to push on the cutters! They will only go so far. For me, the dough would lift up with the cookie cutter and then I would just drop it onto the parchment lined cookies sheet.

Space the cookies on the sheet about 1″ apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Let cool on the sheets on racks for 5 minutes and then transfer the cookies to the rack cool completely.

Enjoy your buttery sugary goodness!

You can make royal icing to decorate. Or you can buy the prefect colors from Williams Sonoma for decorating. I think the advantage to the press is not having to decorate them. And really, they don’t need any extra sugar. They are perfect on their own. But then again…I have never been one for icing.

::sweetness:: Lemon Melt-aways

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This cookies started the birthday week shenanigans.  PTB wasn’t crazy about them at first, but admitted a couple days later that they were “sooooo much better after a few days.”  I think it was just that he was hoping they would be more like the Lemon Zucchini cookies.  What’s up with us and lemon cookies lately?  We are chocolate people!  I think it may be the melt-away concept though – he wan’t crazy about the time I made chocolate chip melta-ways either…Anyway…  these were quick and easy and gave me a great excuse to use my mechanical pastry “bag”.

Ingredients:
Step One

2 sticks of butter, softened to room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
zest from a large lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Step Two
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

In a stand mixer, beat all step one ingredients on medium-high for 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the flour and salt.

Once all combined, return the mixer to medium-high, and cream for another 5 minutes.

This is the fun part!  One two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, place your cookies about 1-2″ apart.  I used a pastry bag to form spirals about 1.5″ in diameter, giving each cookie a nice little point.

Bake in a 350 F oven for ~12 minutes until dry to the touch.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet and EAT  🙂

Yields: ~3 Dozen Cookies

::cookies:: Lemon Zucchini Cookies

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There has been a savory recipe, a soothing recipe, and now a sweet recipe using polenta!  I found this on Martha Stewart’s website, and needed to try the simple cookie recipe for myself.  As always though, I go with the ingredients I have rather than the ingredients I need.  I always have polenta on hand, but not fine ground cornmeal, so I started by throwing 1/2 cup of polenta into my food processor and grinding it down to just coarser than a flour.

On the left is before, on the right is after.  You could keep going, just make sure you keep it slightly coarser than flour.

You are also going to need: 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, coarse salt, vanilla extract, the zest of half a lemon, 1 cup of flour, and a medium zucchini (about the same size as the stick of butter).  And lastly, a 325 F oven.

Let the butter soften at room temperature, and then mix with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Grate your zucchini on the small wholes of a box grater.  Or..to keep things cleaner and easier…I grated on the largest holes, and then chopped it up in the food processor for 30 seconds.

Mix in the lemon zest, about 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Once combined, add the flour and polenta.  The mixture will become a bit more crumbly, like a pie dough.  Then you can add the zucchini!

Once everything is well combined, place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown.  Remove from the baking sheet immediately and let cool on wire racks.  Enjoy  🙂

Yields: ~2 Dozen cookies