Books & Cookies!


Hey there– It’s reading weather around here– cooler, calling for mugs of tea and books on the couch.  I wonder if you’re in the middle of a good book these days.  What are you reading??!

“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”
– Lena Dunham

If you’re a reader (and I think a lot of you are!), get read to be charmed by Anne Bogel’s new book, I’d Rather Be Reading, the Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. You’ll see yourself on these pages in chapters like Confess Your Literary Sins or Bookworm Problems (so funny!).
Here’s a quote from Anne:
“It took me thirty-five years to find my twin… We’re no bound by blood or formal ties. We’ve never shared a last name or an address or Thanksgiving dinner. Our twinness is confined to our reading lives: she’s that remarkable reader whose taste bears an astonishing resemblance to my own.”
The good news is that Anne also has a well curated book blog at Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Check it out!!

I discovered Kate Morton this year and am starting to make my way though her engaging stories.  Mostly recently, The House at Riverton.  In this book, is the recounting of a 98 year old woman with the family who lived in the house and the tragic death that shaped their history.  It was written before Downton Abbey but feels very much the same in detail and characters (I wonder if Julian Fellowes read the book!).  The narrator tells the stories of Hannah and Emmeline, sisters, whom she served as a lady’s maid.  The story pulls you along right until the end when the mystery unfolds. Now I’m waiting for her newest book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter!

I have a special affinity for Fatiima MIrza’s book A Place for Us. Rafiq and Lyla are the parents of 3 grown children who were raised in their conservative Muslim family in the Bay Area.  When the oldest daughter marries, the prodigal son, Amar, returns to the family.  Different family members recount incidents in the the growing up years of the children with tenderness and sometimes sorrow.  I loved the parents hearts for their three children and the last section of the book, the father’s recounting of his interactions with his son, had tears streaming down my face.  Beautiful complicated characters and the beautiful telling of one family’s story.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain describes of the tumultuous love affair and marriage of Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway.  Mostly told from the point of view of Martha, third of Hemingway’s four wives.  She is a writer and journalist and strong personality who comes to love Hemingway when they are both war correspondents, in war torn Madrid, as Franco captures the country.  They made their home together in a writer’s get away in Cuba and travel and write around the world.  Fascinating picture of their relationship– and of course, it sent me to Wikipedia to see home much of the story was actual.  MacLain also wrote The Paris Wife, the telling of Hemingway’s first marriage, also a worthwhile book.

Last month’s book for our was Lit group was Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward.  This story was a difficult one, narrated by sturdy 13 year old Jojo and his drug using mother Leonie.  Living in southern Mississippi with Jojo’s grandparents, they set off on a road trip to collect Jojo’s father who is being released from prison.  The story is populated by Jojo’s younger sister, his steady grandfather, Pop, an ailing grandmother and a pair of ghosts from the past.  The book is at points disturbing and at others hopeful.  Not an easy book, but a worthwhile one.  Winner of the National Book Award.

I’ll end with a sweet story, Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce.  Emmeline is a young woman, living with her best friend Bunty, in war torn London during WWII.  She spends her nights at the phone bank for the Auxilary Fire Services, which responds to nightly bombings.  And by day, she is the assistant to crotchety Mrs. Bird, an advice columnist for a women’s magazine.  When Mrs. Bird discards letters from people who truly need help, Emmy can’t help responding to them.  It’s a story of deep loss and firm loyalties, of the courage of two young women.  I’m not sure why, but this book reminds me of a 1940’s Katherine Hepburn movie– girls with spunk!  Very enjoyable

   To read more book notes (all my books from the the last 3 years)–
Click on Booklist

 

 

And to go with a good afternoon read on the couch, it’s pretty essential to include a mug of hot tea and perhaps a plate of cookies.  Here’s a chewy chocolaty cookie that came out of our kitchen this week.  You might like them along with a good book…

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup whole oats (uncooked!)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar to make a creamy paste.  Then beat in the egg, water and vanilla.  When that’s blended, mix in the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and oats.  And finally beat in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the batter by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or has a silpat mat).  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until they feel firm.  Let them cool a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before you lift them onto a cooking rack.  So chocolaty good!

*I used Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa

 

And here’s a couple other cookie recipes that could accompany your reading:


Chocolate Toffee Slice and Bake Cookies


Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies


Lemon Nut Shortbread Cookies

 

And to finish up– a few of my favorite pictures of people reading:
     
The Lady in the Polka Dot Pants by Rae Andrews
Self Portrait by Michelle Ranta


Little Girl and her bedtime books– Claire Fletcher


Daniel Gerhartz

   
Yuri Petrovic Kugach
Young Clergyman Reading by Martinus Rorbye


Henry Loved Eating all sorts of books!  Oliver Jeffers

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
– Henry David Thoreau

The brilliant painting at the top of the post is by Karen Cooper.  thanks.

Chocolate Toffee Slice and Bake Cookies

Hey there– Been a busy week getting ready for Grammy Camp!!  I’m just jumping up & down excited for 4 grand-girls to get here.  I’ve got little tubs of activities tucked away all in a row and the “Welcome to Grammy Camp” poster taped to the front door. And cookies.

Baked these girl friendly cookies for picnic lunches for the days they are here.  Tiny bits of chocolate and crunchy toffee in a buttery cookie.  I think they’ll be a hit.

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE SLICE AND BAKE COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits*

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt until the dough looks like coarse crumbs.  Then beat in the chocolate chips and toffee bits until the dough is a solid lump.

Divide the dough into two halves.  Roll the first half into a log shape about 2″ thick. And then set them in the fridge for an hour (or up to several days).

When you’re ready to bake the, slice the logs into 1/4 inch rounds and set them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them up at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are just brown around the edges.  Delish!

*the toffee bits I used were Heath “Bits O’ Brickle” — on the shelf were you buy chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi Cookie Eating Friends– I know, I really do, that there are SO many chocolate chip recipes out there.  But I happened on this one that combines 3 favorite cookies– peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate chip!!  And they are just the right amount of crispy edges and softy centers.

I made them for my Monday ladies yesterday evening.  And Kendall, our student friend staying with us, just about polished them off during his late long studies last night.  They’re pretty great.

OATMEAL, PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter softened*
1  1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour
1 cup whole oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla until it’s thoroughly blended.  Then beat in the flour, oats, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Makes about 3 dozen smallish cookies.  And pop them in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Delicious hot from the oven!!

*10 to 12 seconds in the microwave makes refrigerated butter just right.

Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

Hello Cookie Eating Friends–  You know there are some foods that just belong together– peanut butter & jelly,  peaches & cream,  bacon & eggs…  What’s your favorite pair??  Mine is chocolate & almonds!  When the occasional box of See’s candy comes in our door, I search the box for the little mound of perfectly chocolate coated almonds.  Heavenly!

So here’s a great little chocolatey almond cookie.  I made a big batch for an evening with friends and am sorry to say I ate almost I ate almost all the leftover cookies!!  Not too sweet, rich and buttery.  I think you’d like them as much as I do!!

CHOCOLATE CHIP ALMOND COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. amaretto** (or vanilla)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mini chocolate chips

With an electric mixer (start on low so ingredients don’t fly out of the bowl!), beat together the softened butter, powdered sugar, amaretto, flour and salt– until it is a bowl of coarse crumbs.  Be patient.  It takes 3 or 4 minutes to combine the butter and flour.

Then add in the almonds and mini chocolate chips and beat it with the electric mixer until the dough all sticks together.

Spread a thin layer of flour on the counter and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4″ thick.  If it sticks to the rolling pin, flour a tiny bit on top as well.

Use your favorite cookie cutter shape to cut them out and lay them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 12 to 13 minutes until they are golden around the edges. Enjoy!!

*If you’re pulling it out of the fridge (like I did), just give the butter 15 seconds in the microwave.
**I use amaretto because it gives the almond flavor, but at a fraction of the cost of almond extract.  The recipe I worked from used vanilla instead, so that would be great too!

Orange Cranberry Pecan Butter Cookies

Hey friends– I know the name for these cookies is way too long!  But I wanted you to know up front all the goodies they have tucked inside.

And– the best part of these cookies is that you make the dough ahead, put it in the fridge and then slice and bake as many as you need when you’re ready to eat them.   I made the dough this morning, will slice and bake a few for friends coming in tonight and save the rest of the dough for next week when the kids are arrive!

ORANGE CRANBERRY PECAN BUTTER COOKIES
1 large orange
1  1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, minced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped fine
garnish:  powdered sugar for dusting

Start by grating all the rind off of the orange.  Set it aside.  The cut the orange in half and juice it.  Set the juice aside for a minute.

Use a mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and orange juice– until it’s smooth and well blended.  Then add in the flour baking powder, salt, cranberries, pecans and orange peel.  Beat with the mixer until it all forms a big sticky ball of dough.

On a lightly floured counter take out half of the dough and roll it into a log bout 2″ thick.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge.  Do the same with the remaining dough.  Chill it all in the fridge for an hour or more (up to several days…)

When you’re ready to bake– Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice the logs of dough into 1/4″ slices and set them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are lightly browned around the edges.  Be sure to eat at least one warm from the oven (the best!).

When they cool you can dust them lightly with powdered sugar shaken through a sieve. Makes about 3 dozen.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (Gluten Free)

Hi Cookie Lovers– I almost hesitate to call these cookies.  With no flour and with an unusual mix of ingredients, they are more like candy!!  But what they truly are is chewy chocolaty delicious!!

Making them for my Monday ladies tonight, and trundling the leftovers up with me to visit the kids in San Francisco this week.  A grandma should always arrive with a bag of treats!

CHOCOLATE SEA SALT COOKIES
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
sea salt

Stir together the sugar, cocoa and salt,  Then stir in the eggs, vanilla and oil until it is all blended.  Finally fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon globs of batter at least 2″ apart (they really spread in the oven!) onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment (so that they don’t stick).  Lightly sprinkle with just a little sea salt on each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool on the parchment to firm up before you take them off of the pan. Makes about 2 dozen.  Enjoy!!

Cherry Bit Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Hello all– We lived in Texas the first 4 years we were married. Larry was in seminary and I taught science all week.  So every Saturday it was the same routine.  He’d study– while I cleaned our student apartment (so tiny, it didn’t take long!) went with 3 friends to grocery shop together, did laundry and then made cookies. So many cookies!  Now days we don’t need weekly cookies…

But for some young friends coming in last Thursday, I pulled out this old recipe.  Homey and sweet and best hot from the oven!

CHERY BIT CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1  1/2 cups oats
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, minced*

With an electric mixer beat the butter, 2 sugars and eggs until they’re creamy.  Then beat in the flour, salt, baking powder and oats.  Finally, use the mixer to blend in the walnuts, chocolate chips and cherries.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Flatten the cookies a bit with the bottom of a heavy glass.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 11 or 12 minutes.  Be sure to eat at least one hot from the oven!!

*Whole dried cherries are too gummy for me.  I mince them to bits, for their cherry sweetness, but no gummy bites!

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies

img_6600

Hello here– It’s still raining here– All yesterday afternoon I sat and read and watched through the back door– at the pounding persistent rain.  Thankful to be cozy and snug under my blanket of the couch with my book—and a cup of hot chocolate pudding.  So content.

Well, I won’t send you a “recipe” for chocolate pudding (1 box of pudding mix cooked with 3 cups of milk!!), but if you are in a rainy day mood for something desperately chocolate, these cookies might do the trick!

DARK CHOCOLATE SEA SALT COOKIES
12 oz. butter (1  1/2 stick)
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa*
1  3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt (coarse salt)
2 cups chocolate chips (12 oz. bag)**

img_6583

In  small mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (a little over 1 minute).  Then stir in the cocoa and set it aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Lastly, beat in the chocolate chips.

Put rounded tablespoons of batter onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with cooking spray). Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  With a spatula remove the cookies to baking racks to cool.  Will make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

*I use Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa (easy to find)
**The recipe I worked from called for regular chocolate chips, but I just had mini chips–either are fine.

img_6596

Swedish Lemon Hearts

img_4935

Hello Cookie Makers– Got this recipe from my friend Sue, who actually learned to make these from her Swedish grandmother.  We’ve both been making them since our kids were small– almost 40 years!  It’s a Christmas favorite.

They are thin and crisp and citrusy and sweet.  And so pretty, they belong on a Christmas table.

SWEDISH LEMON HEARTS
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 lemon
maraschino cherries
sprinkling of sugar

img_4915

With a fine grater, grate the peel off of the lemon.  Then juice the rest and strain the seeds from the juice.

With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar and lemon juice until it’s blended and smooth.  Then beat in the flour (it will be dry, may take a few minutes).    Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or more.

Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin an a floured counter.  Also sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough–it may be a little sticky.  Cut out your hearts and place them 1″ apart on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle a sugar very lightly and cut up the cherries and put a small bit of cherry at the cleft of each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes, just until they start to brown at the edges.  Merry Christmas!

img_4924

Oatmeal Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies

img_7088

Hello Cookie Lovers–  We have an old family favorite when it comes to cookies around here.  The page in my cooking notebook that has this recipe is stained and faded from so much use.  The original recipe from a friend in Spain called for granola (like here), but over the years we’ve thrown in any flakey cereal in it’s place (no Cheerios please!)  Sometimes we added in nuts or currants or dried cranberries white chocolate chunks.  It’a a basic recipe you can mix up to suit your cookie preferences.  Just trying to say– it’s a good cookie, soft on the inside an crispy around the edges. I think it could become a favorite of your family too.

OATMEAL GRANOLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup while sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
1  1/4 cup oats
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup granola
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, beat together butter, 2 sugars and eggs until they are smooth and creamy.  Then beat in the flour, oats, salt and baking powder.  Finally mix in the coconut, granola and chocolate chips.  It will be a stiff batter.

Then drop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Will make about 3 dozen medium cookies.  Put them in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes until they are beautifully browned on top.  Best eaten (at least one or two) hot from the oven!!

img_7090

Whole Wheat, Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

IMG_4259

Hi cookie eating friends– Loving this new nubble-y version of chocolate chip cookies.  They are hearty and satisfying and really taste like the sort of cookies that should come out of a grandma’s oven.  Lots of nuts and chocolate wrapped in that whole wheat/bran cookie.

I know this is not the first chocolate chip cookie that has crossed paths with this blog– but I think it will the favorite for a long time.  If you are need of cookies, hope you give these a try…

WHOLE WHEAT, BRAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup butter. room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup bran
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the 2 sugars.  Then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Next mix in the wheat flour, white flour, wheat germ, salt and baking powder. Then finally, beat in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  And bake them up in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies a beautiful browned around the edges.  And eat one while they are hot from the oven–delish!

IMG_4247

 

 

Mocha Hazelnut Cookies

IMG_3298Hey there– If you look in our freezer, you’re likely to find mocha almond fudge ice cream tucked in between the frozen blueberries and ice cube bin (unless I’ve just slurped it all down).  It’s my favorite.  So how could these tender fudgey coffee tinged cookies not be delicious?  They’re not too sweet, but chock full of chocolate and hazelnuts.  Big and cake-like and melt-in-your-mouth good.  (OK, did I convince you??)

MOCHA HAZELNUT COOKIES
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. coffee liqueur (optional)
1  1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. instant coffee crystals
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

IMG_3301With an electric mixer cream together the butter, 2 sugars, egg, vanilla and coffee liqueur.  Then beat in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, coffee crystals and salt.  Finally, mix in he hazelnuts and chocolate chips.*

Drop the batter by full tablespoons onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray–about 3″ apart.  Smash each cook just a bit flatter with the bottom of a glass.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before you lift them off to a cooling rack.  Makes about 18 large cookies.  Enjoy them with a mug of tea!

*I save a handful of chocolate chip and hazelnuts to sprinkle on top of the cookies before I slip them into the oven– so they are prettier.

IMG_3268

Chocolate Chip Dump Cookies

FullSizeRender

Hi all– with a “glamorous” name like that, these cookies are bound to be good.  The dump part pretty much describes them.  You open your kitchen cupboard, pull out all the goodies you can locate  and throw them into the batter.

They’re  rather homely, downright lumpy to look at, but on closer examination (with your mouth!), you find they are exquisite– salty, sweet, crunchy, nutty and of course, chocolatey.  I think you’d like them just fine.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CUMP COOKIES
1 cup of butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1  1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tab. vanilla
1  1/2 cup flour
1 cup whole oats (oatmeal)
1/2 cup granola
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apricots, but to small bits

FullSizeRender
With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy.

Throw in the flour, oats, granola, baking powder and sugar and keep beating until it’s all mixed.

Then beat in the coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, cranberries and apricots until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  And pop the cookies into a 350 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until they are beautifully browned.

Be sure to eat one while they are still hot from the oven (the best!)

FullSizeRender

Very Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

IMG_1272Hi there chocolate loving friends– These little gems are my very favorite cookies– sooo chocolatey!  They are pretty much the cookie version of flourless chocolate cake.  Plus they have those fresh crunchy hazelnuts that put you to mind of nutella.  So what could be better than that?!  Anyway, if you do love chocolate, you might want to give them a try.

VERY CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT COOKIES
2  2/3 cup chocolate chips, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup hazelnuts, cut in half

IMG_1239

Take 1 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips and melt them in the microwave in a micowave-proof bowl (about 1 1/2 minute).  Stir them together til they are a melty mess of chocolate.

Mix in the sugar, melted butter and vanilla.  Then beat in the eggs.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until it’s completely blended.  Last, fold in the hazelnuts.

Drop the batter by small spoonfuls onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Space them far apart.  They will spread.

Pop them into a 350 oven for 12 to 13 minutes until they are set, still soft in the center.  Transfer them off the cookie sheet to a rack carefully.  They will firm up as they cool.

Makes 24 to 30 smallish beautiful rich cookies.

IMG_1245

P.S.  These are best eaten right away.  If you are storing them for a few days, make sure you have an air tight container so they don’t dry out.

Lemon Nut Shortbread Cookies

DSC02273Hello Cookie Lovers– When Larry and I were first married, we lived in a tiny student housing apartment.  Every Saturday I would grocery shop first things with a carful of other student wives.  We’d drive to the market, sharing meal ideas and making our lists. Then back home, I’d clean the small apartment, which took about an hour top to bottom.  And in the afternoon, bake cookies– a big batch, every week.

After 40 years, we are off our weekly cookie diet.  But now and then, friends coming in does call for a big plateful of cookies.  And here’s a cookie, not too sweet, with a sprinkle of sugar, the crunch of walnuts and lots of tart lemon flavor.  Cookie time!

LEMON NUT SHORTBREAD COOKIES

1  1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
1/4 cup sugar
2 tab. grated lemon peel (1 large lemon)
1/2 cup butter
2 tab. lemon juice
a couple more spoons of sugar to top the cookies

DSC02257

Stir together the flour, sugar, nuts and grated lemon peel.  Cut the butter into bits and beat it in with an electric mixer long with the lemon juice.  This will take several minutes.

When the dough turns to coarse crumbs, pat it into a ball and roll it out on a floured counter with a rolling pin.  Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter or knife and place the cookies onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes until they are browned around the edges.  Makes about 2 dozen 2″ cookies.

DSC02285

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_2848Hello friends– Well, the first thing I bake for Christmas is a oversized batch of little gingerbread guys– usually pretty soon after Thanksgiving– because they freeze so well and are a Christmas staple around here.  Is it too soon to put some in the oven?  Oh, I think the answer is –yes, can’t you just wait til December?!.

OK, so in the interim, I’ll settle for these gingerbread-y chocolate chip cookies– all the spice and warmth of Christmas– with the added bonus of chocolate chips.  I’ll tell you, they do smell great baking away in the oven!  Since it is November, they will have to be my new “Thanksgiving Cookies.”  (Is that a thing?)  I think you’d like them.

GINGERBREAD CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1  1/4 stick butter  (5/8 cup)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tab. unsweetened cocoa powder*
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (6 0z.) semisweet chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, be a together the butter, sugars and egg.  Then beat in the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Finally mix int he chocolate chips.

Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Then lift them on to a wire rack to cool.

Tea Party Sugar Cookies

IMG_1210Hi friends– If you would be so kind as to indulge me, here is one more post with the gran-girls.  They are always up for a tea party.  So when we borrowed the “Frozen” movie (thanks Glenda!) to watch on a Saturday afternoon, it made perfect sense (??) to turn it into a Frozen Tea Party-movie afternoon.  There was lots of  cookie-cutting and frosting-flying all morning to get things ready.  Here’s our “fancy” snowflake cookies (disclaimer– these cookies were produced by 3, 5 & 7 year olds– tasty if not perfectly turned out!):

TEA PARTY SUGAR COOKIES
1  1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. amaretto (or almond extract)*
1 egg
2  1/2  cups flour
pinch salt
1 tsp. baking powder

IMG_1171With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, amaretto and egg.  Then mix in the flour, salt and baking powder.

Set the dough into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface.  Sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough as well so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.

Cut out your favorite shapes with cookie cutters and lay them on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 7 or 8 minutes, until they just start to brown around the edges.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack.  They are crispy good just as they are, but frosting makes them even better.

IMG_1180       IMG_1183Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tab.  milk
a drop of two of food coloring
sprinkles (optional, unless you are cooking with small girls, then they are mandatory)

Mix the 3 ingredients with a fork until the frosting is smooth.  If you want it thinner, add a few drops of milk (be careful, it’s easy to add too much!).

IMG_1200

 

Almond Ginger Cookies

IMG_9265Hello Cookie Eating Friends–  Loving these tender little cookies.  They’re sort of a shortbread with an almond crunch and a bit of ginger bite.  If you like ginger beer or ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe’s, I think you’ll love these sweet guys!

ALMOND GINGER COOKIES
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup candied ginger, minced fine
1/2 cup sliced almonds*
little more sugar for coating

With an electric mixer, beat the butter** and sugar until they form a fluffy paste.  Then beat in the flour and salt for a few minutes more until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.  It will take a several minutes.  Persevere!

Then, finally, beat in the almonds and ginger until the dough is sticky crumbs.

Divide the dough into two halves and roll each into a log on a piece of plastic wrap.  Pop them into the fridge a couple hours (or overnight).

Unwrap the logs and roll them in sugar to coat the sides.

Then slice the logs into 1/4 inch circles.  It will slice best while the dough is still cold!  Place the cookies on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray– about 1″ apart.

Cook them up for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees– just until the edges start to brown and they smell gingery good.

Cool them on a wire rack.  Makes about 30 cookies.

*I like the sliced toasted almonds from Trader Joe’s– pretty and crispy
**If the butter comes straight from the fridge, microwave it for a few seconds to bring it close to room temperature.

IMG_9258

Crispiest Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_8359Hello there fellow cookie lovers–  I know.  I know.  There are definite preferences when it comes chocolate chip cookies. Some people like them thick, doughy and soft.  But not me.   This is an old family fave–and this version is crunchy crispy.  Delectable!

Whipped them up with the grand-girls this afternoon– for a good munch while we watch the new Tinkerbell movie.  Simple pleasures.

CRISPIEST OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flake cereal**
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl beat together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar and egg with an electric mixer.  Then blend in the flour, oatmeal, salt and baking powder.  Finally mix in the cereal and chocolate chips.

Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls onto a baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray– about 1 1/2 ” apart–these guys spread!!

Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until they are nicely browned around the edges.  Immediately eat 2 or 3 straightway not from the oven.

*If you a getting the butter cold from the fridge, microwave it 4 or 5 seconds to bring it down to room temperature.
**Any flakey cereal will do– We had Special on hand, but corn flakes of oat flakes are A-OK.

IMG_8349

Double Chocolate Wafer Cookies

IMG_8153Hello Cookie Lovin’ Friends–   I found a new very favorite cookie–  I’ve always seen recipes where you make the dough a head and roll into “cookie dough logs,” then slice it up the after it’s chilled and bake it later.  But it my cookie baking routine, that’s too slow, too much planning ahead!  I’m more of a spontaneous cookie baker.

BUT these guys are worth the lag time.  Maybe the anticipation of waiting makes them even more delicious.  I’m not sure.

But I have to say, they are the best cookies yet– pretty and nutty and chocolaty.  Perfect in my way of cookie thinking.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE WAFER COOKIES
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 stick)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa*
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips**
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine

IMG_8156Soften the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds, if it is coming right out of the fridge.  With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla.

Then mix in the flour, cocoa and baking powder–leave the mixer on the lowest setting to start out so your don’t have flour flying out of the bowl!

After that is pretty well mixed, pour in the chocolate chips and walnuts.  Continue with the mixer until it forms into one cohesive glob in the mixing bowl.

Then divide the dough into 2 parts and roll each into a2″ thick log and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Chill it in the fridge for 3 hours (or up to 3 days).  Take it out of the plastic wrap and slice into 1/3″ slices with your sharpest knife.

Set them onto a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray and bake them up at 325 degrees for 12 minutes.  They will still be soft.  Be careful when you lift them off the pan.  They firm up as they cool–tender and so, so chocolaty!

*Love the Hershey’s dark unsweetened cocoa–the chocolaty-ist.
** The mini chocolate chips work best she you’re trying to slice up the cookies.