Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grandma's Drop Cookies

I thought this would be a good time to remember the old favorites. Like that great old pair of sweats that eventually fell apart. Or that fleece blanket you cuddled into so many winters.

These cookies hold that kind of nostalgia for me, yet the first time I made them were for these pictures. But I remember them. I remember mom making them. I remember seeing this recipe in her recipe box, with a simple title of "Drop Cookies", with little to no instruction to make them. I remember grabbing a handful of these little cookies and tossing the gumdrops in the garbage so I could eat the cookies. I eat the gumdrops now, though.

One of the many reasons I started this blog was recipes like this. It was passed down from my Grandma (who I never met), to my Mom, and now to me. So, to say these are old fashioned would be an understatement. But, give them a try, they really are a nice little cookie. And, it reminds me of my roots.



The only instructions I received from my mom I will pass on to you - first, you have to use lard or shortening - no butter. Second, have some fat in the milk - non-fat milk doesn't cut it. And, finally, they really do need the raisins.

For a .pdf, click here.

Grandma’s Drop Cookies

¾ cup lard or shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup milk

1 cup raisins

3 cups flour

½ t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

½ c. chopped walnuts, optional

1 cup gum drops, sliced in half, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk, and stir until well incorporated. Add flour, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix until combined. Fold in raisins and walnuts.

Grease or spray a cookie sheet, or line with a silpat or parchment paper. Drop cookies by the tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheet. Leave about ½” space between each cookie, since they don’t spread much. Place a sliced gumdrop on top of each cookie and bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Cookie Balls

I wanted to give everyone one last idea for Christmas. If you are finding yourself stumped for ideas for that holiday meal sweet ending, give these cookie balls a try.

By now, most of you have probably tasted the Oreo Truffles that seem to have been around the internet a lot this year. This is just 4 different options that use the same idea. The flavors are very nice - nutella, ginger, coconut, or peanut butter. Out of these, my very favorite is the ginger. They have a lot of ginger taste, and don't taste too sweet.

Since I really don't like tempering chocolate, I used almond bark to coat these. While it's the easier option, I've found sometimes it tastes pretty sweet to me. So, I tried to balance that by adding spices, dark chocolate, or coconut. I do have a tip for the candy coating. When I use this, I always have left overs. I like to use that leftover by mixing it with pureed pumpkin and/or cream cheese and some spices for a cookie "dip" - I'm still tweaking the recipe on this one, though. If you don't want to do this, let it cool in a plastic container (or in the little container it comes in if you don't get the Wilton ones). Then store in a resealable bag. It keeps for quite a while.

Hope everyone has a blessed holiday season, whatever your celebrations entail.

And, I hope everyone stays tuned if you liked this idea, I have a few surprises I'm working on with this, and I can't wait to share!

For a printable recipe, click here.

Cookie balls

For Nutella:

14-16 oz chocolate cookie crumbs (3 cups)

8 oz cream cheese

1/3 c. nutella

1/3 c. dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled (I used dark chocolate here to help control the sweetness of these)

1/3 t. salt

For Gingerbread:

14-16 oz ginger cookie crumbs (2 cups)

8 oz. cream cheese

½ c. white chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1 t. ginger

¼ t. nutmeg

1/3 t. salt

3 T. candied ginger, finely chopped

For Coconut:

14-16 oz vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 2 cups)

8 oz cream cheese

½ c. white chocolate chips, melted

2/3 c. coconut, finely chopped

1/3 t. salt

For Peanut Butter:

14-16 oz. peanut butter cookie crumbs

6 oz cream cheese

1 cup peanut butter chips, melted and cooled

1/3 t. salt


For all:

1 lb candy coating, such as Wilton or almond bark found in grocery stores, or 1 bag melted chocolate chips mixed with 2 t. paraffin or 1 T. shortening.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients until they are a uniform color, and no streaks of cream cheese remain. Dough should be slightly sticky. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Form into 1 T. or larger balls. Dip in melted candy coating and decorate. I like to put a peanut on the peanut butter ones, a small piece of candied ginger on the ginger ones, and some toasted coconut on the coconut ones.

Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nutella Popcorn!


This is for all of you out there that love nutella. Or, for future converts! I got this idea from one of the cooking blog communities I'm in. They made peanut butter popcorn from a Cooking Light recipe. And, wow, did that look good. I *still* can't find the original post for that, but if I find it, I will certainly credit!


But I was in the mood for something different. Yea, I was in a nutella mood. Since my google-fu was failing, I went to an old standby recipe that involves peanut butter, sugar, and rice krispies.

The result wasn't quite right, until I remembered the original recipe called for baking in the oven. Now, this recipe works. It's crispy and crunchy, and just the right amount of nutella. And, it's a perfect addition to any Christmas Basket!

For a .pdf of the recipe, go here.

Nutella Popcorn

½ c. corn syrup

½ c. sugar

½ t. salt

2 T. cocoa powder

½ c. nutella

6 cups popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 250. Place parchment or foil on a cookie sheet. Set aside. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl, set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder, salt, and nutella. Stir until smooth. Pour over popcorn and stir popcorn to coat.

Place popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool. Store in air tight container.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lets steam some buns! Daring Baker December, 2012



Yummy, Yummy! I love Dim Sum. And, these in particular.

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
If you've followed my blog long, you will know I've made the baked version a few times. While I was pretty happy with the recipe, I was excited to try the steamed version and a different set of spices in the filling.

The result? This is a great recipe! Yes, it's a bit different than mine, but I don't think I have a preference when it comes to the two fillings. However, I do prefer this dough recipe. I found that I enjoyed the pillowy softness of steamed dough quite a bit!



Thanks again for this great challenge, and I encourage you to give this recipe a spin, or take a look at the other daring cooks for more inspiration!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ginger crispies


I've been fascinated recently about the increase of available marshmallow flavors. All sorts, really - strawberry, chocolate, pina colada, gingerbread, peppermint. It really makes me wonder why. There's part of me that thinks some of the large companies test kitchens have people that scour the internet daily reviewing trends to see what's cooking in peoples kitchens, so they can provide a version of those, or if they can sell something else to home cooks. Yea, that's probably where they came from.

Of course, I had to try them. Some of them are really tasty...others, not so much. And, they don't compare to homemade marshmallows at all. The gingerbread marshmallows are OK. Do they taste like ginger bread? Well, sort of. I would have much preferred them to be a bit spicier.

And, since I just love all things ginger, I had to try to cook with these new creations. After bumping up the ginger taste by adding crushed ginger cookies, powdered ginger, and a little fresh ginger, I'm happy with these results. So, if you don't want to make ginger bread or ginger cookies for the holidays, this is a quick and easy alternative.

For a .pdf of the recipe, click here. Otherwise, enjoy!

Ginger Crispies

1 bag gingerbread marshmallows, or 40 large plain marshmallows, 2 t. powdered ginger and 1 t. cinnamon

6 cups crispy rice cereal

1/3 c. butter

½ t. grated ginger, optional

½ t. powdered ginger, optional

¼ c. candied ginger, finely chopped

15 crisp ginger cookies (or 30 ginger thins), crushed into crumbs

Butter or spray 13x9x2 pan. Sprinkle ½ crushed ginger cookies along the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine rice cereal and candied ginger. In a medium pan, heat butter and marshmallows over medium heat, stirring so to prevent burning. Once the marshmallows have completely melted, stir in grated ginger and powdered ginger (and your cinnamon if you are using plain marshmallows). Pour over the rice cereal in your large bowl.

Stir until the rice cereal is completely coated. Spread evenly into your prepared pan. Sprinkle over remaining ginger cookies and let set until cool before cutting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Caramel Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies


I should be getting ready for my annual Christmas Goodie Baskets... instead, I'm making these a few at a time, and destroying my diet by eating them. To say they are good is an understatement.

I know I've been on an oatmeal cookie kick lately, but I really love how different oatmeal cookies can be. This one is a perfect example. While I was shopping for "trick or treaters" (we never get even one), I discovered something I had not seen before - Caramel bits - unwrapped little caramel bits, about the size of chocolate chips, made for caramel apples. I immediately grabbed a bag - well, two bags - and thought oooohhhh cookies!


And, they are incredibly good cookies, too. The caramel bits go perfectly with oatmeal., and cinnamon chips just add to the chewy goodness.

For a .pdf or the recipe, click here. Enjoy!

Caramel Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 ½ cup oatmeal

½ t. baking soda

½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 ¼ c. unbleached flour

½ c. unsalted butter, softened

½ c. brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/3 t. nutmeg

¼ c. milk

1 cup Cinnamon chips

1 cup Caramel bits

In a medium bowl, whip butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk and blend until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in chips and bits. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Drop cookies by ¼ cupfuls onto a baking sheet, giving ample room to spread (even though they won’t). Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before eating.

Note: You can make much smaller cookies and bake 10-11 minutes.

Caramel Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 ½ cup oatmeal

½ t. baking soda

½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 ¼ c. unbleached flour

½ c. unsalted butter, softened

½ c. brown sugar

¼ c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/3 t. nutmeg

¼ c. milk

1 cup Cinnamon chips

1 cup Caramel bits

In a medium bowl, whip butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk and blend until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in chips and bits. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Drop cookies by ¼ cupfuls onto a baking sheet, giving ample room to spread (even though they won’t). Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before eating.

Note: You can make much smaller cookies and bake 10-11 minutes.


Pineapple Mango Oatmeal Cookies

3 cup oatmeal

1 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

2 1/2 c. unbleached flour

1 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

2 egg

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, including juice

6 oz. dried mango, chopped into small pieces

1/2 c. milk

1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a small bowl, combine pineapple and mango. Let set at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 In a medium bowl, whip butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk and blend until well mixed. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in oats, pineapple mixture, and nuts.

Drop cookies by ¼ cupfuls onto a baking sheet, giving ample room to spread (even though they won’t). Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before eating.