Thumbprint Cookies

I’ve used the same thumbprint cookie recipe for years (also on this site – butter cookies two ways), but I decided to mix it up this year and use a new recipe that was very well-reviewed on Epicurious. They were great!

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup jam such as raspberry, strawberry, or apricot
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and a second rack in the lower third then preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and chill at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Using your thumb or the round end of a small pestle, make a well in the center of each cookie. Using a teaspoon, fill each well with jam, being careful not to overfill the wells. Bake, switching the cookies between the upper and lower racks about halfway through baking, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Continue baking cookies on cooled baking sheets.

These cookies can be baked ahead and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Pistachio and Cherry Wedding Cookies

I made these for my 2017 cookie party, and I really liked them. Of course I love the cherry and pistachio combo, and I love wedding cookies. So they were sort of a shoe-in for me. This recipes is adapted from Epicurious.

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar plus more for coating
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shelled unsalted natural pistachios (about 4 ounces), chopped
1 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
3 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 heavy large baking sheets. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt, then pistachios and cherries. Using spatula, stir in all flour (do not overmix dough).

Shape dough by generous tablespoonfuls into football-shaped ovals. Place on prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until bottoms just begin to color, about 16 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets 10 minutes before coating.

Pour generous amount of powdered sugar into medium bowl. Working with 5 or 6 warm cookies at a time, add cookies to bowl of sugar; gently turn to coat thickly. Transfer cookies to sheet of waxed paper. Repeat to coat cookies with sugar again; cool completely. do ahead Can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mom’s recipe says it’s from Diane, but since I have no idea who that is, I’m just going to call these mom’s. I admit, I had to come to terms with using shortening instead of butter, but once I got on board, it’s been yummy cookies all the way! 

There are two tips I’ll share. New York Times says to make the dough 36 hours ahead of time. Who knew? Of course this requires a level of organization that I can’t even hope to have. But a girl has to have  a dream, right?

The other is about the chocolate. I love chocolate chip cookies, but sometimes, well they are almost too chocolate chippy. So I sometimes get chocolate bars and thinly chop them instead of using chips. It takes 2 minutes, and the results are thin chocolate ribbons going through the cookies, which I find more delicious than the lumps of chocolate. Don’t judge.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or chopped up semisweet chocolate bar)
1 1/2 cup nuts (optional, or add some dried cherries for variety)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Beat shortening and both sugars until very creamy, 5 minutes or so. Add flour mixture, vanilla, chocolate chip and nuts, and stir until just combined.

Frankenstein Bars

I saw the cutest recipe for Frankenstein Bars this weekend. We were on the way home from Six Flags (side note: you could not PAY me to go to their nighttime Fright Fest, where they pump in fog everywhere so their scary employees can jump out and get ya. No Thank You.).

But I digress.

I was reading the news  (People magazine) and thought just maybe I could pull off these cute bars.
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Lemon ‘Swig’ Sugar Cookies

When my friend Molly shows up to a youth baseball practice with cookies in a cellophane bag,  tied with a ribbon…I knew it was going to be good!  

These cookies are a perfect mix of sugar, lemon, and goodness.  The texture is buttery and smooth.  The frosting compliments the cookie better than most.  Can you say hello Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting?    

Thank you Molly,  for sharing your mad baking skills and friendship with me!  To our lemon loving friends,  it’s not too late to bake these for a special teacher or friend.  Follow the directions closely, leaving thicker than normal and also baking a short amount of time.

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Cinnamon and Sugar Sweet Rolls

overnight-cinnamon-twist5I admit it.  Baking with yeast takes it up a notch.  The Easter Bunny prepared this yummy treat for our family.  When a recipe can be started the night before, I am all in.   Cinnamon and sugar is a win win.  Add a serving of bacon or sausage, done and done. High Five!  These were made with love for my boys.   I can only hope that sharing this recipe brings sweetness to your life.

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Taco Seasoning

The last time I needed a taco seasoning packet, I called a neighbor and they were out of the seasoning. I started digging for a good recipe, so that I could keep it on hand. What I found is that it is simple and fresher tasting. Add a pound of hamburger meat or ground turkey with this recipe and you will immediately notice the difference. If you prefer a slightly milder flavor, use a little less. I use ground turkey, flavored with this recipe (you can’t tell the difference from hamburger) on a salad with the Homemade Salsa on this blog as my go to meal. You can also use this recipe to flavor turkey for the Taco Soup recipe found on this blog.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper