Cookies and Bars

Chocolate Crinkles (Dairy Free)

Chocolate Crinkles were a favorite cookie of my childhood. Through the years I made them for my kids as well. Now the grandkids can enjoy them and help, especially rolling the dough in the two sugars. We made our cookies bite size and they were perfect. Little bites of chocolate perfection and…bonus…dairy free!

Chocolate Crinkles (Dairy Free)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour (130 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (65 grams)
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed (165 grams)
  • ¼ cup white sugar (50 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil (60 milliliters)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For rolling

  • 1/2 cup white sugar (100 grams)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (65 grams)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Whisk together flour, cocoa, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix using your hands. At first it will seem like there isn’t enough liquids and like the mixture is dry and grainy. This is fine. Keep mixing until you see the mixture develop into dough.
  3. Roll the dough into about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters size balls.
  4. Roll each ball first in the granulated sugar. Then roll each ball generously in powdered sugar.
  5. Place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Add more powdered sugar on top of the balls.
  6. Preheat the oven to 325°F or 160°C . Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

Recipe from thetasteofkosher.com

Cookies and Bars

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter cookies with only 4-5 ingredients. Wow! These cookies are amazingly good. I love the salt and sweet combination. If you don’t like the salt, leave it out. My daughter, Megan, made these and the grandkids loved them, as did the adults.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter (see note at end)
  • Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.
  3. Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon.
  4. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 16 to 18 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving.
  5. You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking. 

Chef’s Tip: While the all-natural stuff works just fine, Skippy is our peanut butter brand of choice for this recipe as we’ve found it retains the dough shape best. These tasty cookies are gluten-free!

Recipe from Oven.ly

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

Dan sent the recipe for these delicious cookies to daughter, Megan, and we loved them! They are chewy and ‘healthy’ or so we told ourselves. It’s wonderful to share our recipes with family and friends! Thanks, Dan!

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cups uncooked oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 oz. walnuts (optional)
  • 6 oz. dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
  4. Drop cookies onto cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.

Recipe shared by Dan Stout, a family favorite

Cookies and Bars · Family · Holidays

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Valentine’s Day brings back memories of making Valentine’s Day cards, making and eating sweet treats, and enjoying wonderful dinners with those I love. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an expensive, extravagant day.  It’s really about being with or talking to those you love.  I often express my love through cooking, as my Mother did.

These colorful cookies were fun to make, to share and to eat.  Share a batch with those you love and enjoy the day!

VALENTINE’S DAY M&M COOKIES

Cookies and Bars · Czech Heritage and Dishes · Holidays · New Favorite

Slovak Honey Cookies

Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots.  Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy.  It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.

The Slovak Honey Cookies are traditional Christmas treats and I had to try them.  They are very similar to our traditional Gingerbread cookies, using honey instead of Molasses.  They are absolutely delicious and a new favorite for the holidays.

SLOVAK HONEY COOKIES

3 cups (400 g) plain flour
1 cup (140 g) icing sugar
4 tbsp (60 g) butter softened
3 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp of gingerbread spice mix
3 tbsp clear honey
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a baking tray with paper.
  • Sift together the flour, icing sugar, soda bicarbonate and spices.
  • Add butter and honey to the dry ingredients along with the eggs, and mix well to form a soft dough.
  • Wrap in a cling film and leave overnight in the refrigerator to chill.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of half a centimeter.
  • Cut out with your desired cookie cutter and place well apart on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorate with icing if you wish.

ICING

1 egg white
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

  • Whisk the ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
  • Add more sugar if needed and have patience.
  • Spoon your icing into a sandwich bag, twist the bag tightly until the icing wedges into one corner, and then poke or cut a tiny hole into the corner. Make sure your cookies are completely cool before beginning to decorate.
GINGERBREAD SPICE MIX

10g ground cinnamon
4g whole cloves
3g fresh ground nutmeg
3g cardamom pods
3g star anise

  • Crush the cardamom pods, star anise and cloves using a pestle and mortar. Ground in a coffee grinder and add to the ground cinnamon.
Cookies and Bars · Family Favorites · New Favorite

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Crush Cookies

Daughter Megan found this recipe and shared this mega cookie with me.  I have never heard of Levain Bakery in NYC but if I ever get back to the City, I will try to go! The cookies are delicious!

A batch of these cookies would make a wonderful Father’s Day present, or if you aren’t a baker, you could order them from the bakery!  Slightly warmed in the microwave, topped with vanilla ice cream, it would be a wonderful dessert for two or more!

LEVAIN BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP CRUSH COOKIES

1 cup Cold Butter cut into small cubes
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour*
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Chocolate Chips
2 cups Walnuts roughly chopped

  • Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together cold cubed butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4 minutes or until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.
  • Stir in flours, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined to avoid overmixing. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  • Separate dough into large balls and place on lightly colored cookie sheet. They are bigger than you think! You will fit 4 cookies on one large cookie sheet. The dough makes 8 extra large cookies.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes to set.
Recipe Notes

*can substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour

*Levain Bakery has stated they don’t use vanilla extract in their cookies. If you would like to add vanilla extract, I would suggest adding 1 teaspoon when adding the eggs to the batter.

Recipe from Modernhoney.com

Cookies and Bars · Greek · Holidays · New Favorite

Koulourakia Greek Easter Cookies

2020 was quite the year, and Easter was no exception.  During the lockdown, my daughters and I cooked different things and did a front porch, socially distanced food swap.  We each ate our Easter Dinner in our own homes, different than our normal family gatherings.

The following weekend, our neighbor invited everyone in our cul-de-sac to partake in a Greek Orthodox Easter dinner.  It was warm enough to gather outside, socially distanced, to celebrate this special day.  For the potluck gathering, I made Koulourakia, Greek Easter Cookies.  The cookies are a wonderful, orange-flavored butter twist cookie.

They were fun to make and similar in design to the Kringla I make at Christmas.  The cookies are especially good with a hot cup of coffee. This year, Greek Orthodox Easter will be May 2, 2021.  I may be inspired to make these yummy cookies once again!

KOULOURAKIA GREEK EASTER COOKIES

3½- 4 cups all purpose flour 420- 480 grams (3½ + ½ cup separated)
 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar 150 grams
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup butter 115 grams, cubed, room temperature
2 large eggs room temperature
1 large egg yolk room temperature
 teaspoons vanilla extract pure
1/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
1/4 cup milk room temperature
1 teaspoon ouzo or Sambuca (optional)

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sesame seeds sprinkled on egg wash

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place rack in the center of oven. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sift together 3½ cups flour and baking powder and set aside. The other 1/2 cup of flour is reserved in case we need to add extra flour (see recipe note).
  • In a bowl of a stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, whisk together the orange zest and the sugar.
  • Add the cubed room temperature butter and cream together with the sugar until light and fluffy. This can take up to 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time beating well and scraping down the bowl between each addition.
  • Add the egg yolk and again, beat well and scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the vanilla extract, orange juice, milk and ouzo (if using). Beat together for 30 seconds.
  • On low speed, add the 3½ cups of flour and baking powder. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a few tablespoons of flour if the dough is still sticky. (Optional: cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes).
  • With a medium sized cookies scoop, portion and roll into a 7-inch log.
  • Shape into desired shapes (braids, pinwheels, twists, etc…) Refer to pictures in the post.
  • Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
  • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake for 13 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.  (This was too long in my oven.  I baked for 11 minutes and probably could have done even less.)
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to completely cool down.
  • Can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks. Cookies can also be frozen.

Recipe from shelovesbiscotti.com

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites · New Favorite

French Macarons by Daughter Megan

French Macarons are such a light, sweet delicacy.  I never would think of making them, yet, one day, my oldest daughter, Megan, called to say she’d had a dream about making Macarons and was going to bake them that very day.  Megan is the dessert maker in our family, always coming up with something new and delightful. Even so, I thought they would be extremely difficult, especially at Denver altitude.

Never fear!  The results were stunning and delectable.  The only change Megan made to the recipe was reducing the vanilla and adding almond extract to both the cookie and to the frosting. I’ll leave the Macaron making to Megan and praise (and enjoy) the results!

FRENCH MACARONS

For the Cookie

  • 100 g egg whites room temperature or 3 large eggs
  • 140 g almond flour or 1 1/2 cups
  • 90 g granulated sugar just under 1/2 cup
  • 130 g powdered sugar or 1 cup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5mL (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 800mg

For the Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened 226g
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
  • 3 tbsp. water 30mL
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

For the Macarons:

  • Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
  • Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
  • Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Begin folding in the 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
  • Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
  • The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
  • Pipe one inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in oven.
  • Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.

For the French Buttercream Filling:

  • Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium- high and bring to a boil
  • Put egg yolks in a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until thick and foamy.
  • Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat. With mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle hot syrup into bowl with yolks.
  • Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add in butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Continue mixing until buttercream is smooth and creamy. (About 5-6 minutes.) Add food coloring if desired.

For Assembly

  • Pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for 1-3 days for best results. This allows the filling to soften the shells inside.

Notes

  • THE MERINGUE!!!! That meringue HAS TO BE STIFF! I had no idea French meringue could be whipped to such a thick marshmallowy consistency but all it takes is a bit of extra whisking. You’ll notice the meringue start to fill the whisk when you’re getting close to the right stage.
  • Sift, Sift, SIFT! Those larger pieces of almond flour will mar the surface of your macarons. Best practice is to sift then whiz in the food processor and repeat two more times. Discard the larger particles, don’t try to press them through the sieve.
  • Use a scale if possible, accuracy helps with this recipe.
  • The mixing will take some practice, you will fold and fold the batter and then use the spatula to GENTLY press the batter against the bowl. You want to remove some of the bubbles but not to many… Continue this until it reaches a thick “lava” consistency. It should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons and be able to form a figure eight without breaking.
  • Pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might be oblong or malformed.
  • Add your coloring to the meringue after it reaches the soft peak stage.
  • When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.
  • The macarons will be best after 2-3 days resting in the fridge.
  • If you over-bake the shells and they’re too crisp, brush the bottom with some milk before assembly to soften them up.

Recipe adapted from Preppykitchen.com

Cookies and Bars · Family Favorites

Lemon Bars

Who doesn’t love a lemon bar?  I associate Lemon Bars with Spring, warmer weather, longer days, and early spring flowers.  The tart filling paired with the shortbread crust. Yummo!

LEMON BARS

Shortbread Crust

Lemon Filling

2 cups granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  • Make the crust: Mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to completely combine. The dough will be thick. Press firmly into prepared pan, making sure the layer of crust is nice and even. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the warm crust (not all the way through the crust). A new step I swear by, this helps the filling stick and holds the crust in place. Set aside until step 4.
  • Make the filling: Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
  • Pour filling over warm crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles. (Give the pan a light tap with an oven mitt to test.) Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. I usually cool them for about 2 hours at room temperature, then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until pretty chilled. I recommend serving chilled.
  • Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving. For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freezing Instructions: Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Cut the cooled bars (without confectioners’ sugar topping) into squares, then place onto a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Individually wrap each bar in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place into a large bag or freezer container to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator, then dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Recipe from SallysBakingAddiction.com


 

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite.  What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies?  You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe.  I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper.  This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries.  Another recipe that will be made over and over again.

SNICKERDOODLE BARS

  • 1/2 c. Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
  • 1 Egg room temp.
  • 3/4 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. Flour
  • 3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
  • Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
  • Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.

Recipe from Mylifeafterdairy