Dairy & Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our neighbors, the Ellinger’s, just moved back to North Carolina, and we miss them! But they gave me a recipe upon parting that’s really good! These cookies are both dairy and egg free (from when her kids were allergic), but they are delicious even if you don’t have those limitations! You know the recipe is good by how it looks on the page!

EllingerCookies

The Best Cookies

I hosted a new book club at my house recently, and one of my guests brought me a bag of cookies instead of wine. My kind of girl!!

I was dieting and dutifully put the bag in the freezer. When I’d lost weight, they were the FIRST thing I ate. Hint – they are great with a cup of coffee in the morning!

The original recipe is from Ina Garten, but I replaced some of the nuts and raisins with chocolate chips (because: chocolate). Winner!!

1 cup pecans
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, chocolate chips and pecans and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Unforgettable Chicken Casserole

My best friend Jennifer is one of the world’s best cooks. So when she says something is unforgettable, I believe her! This sounds like an amazing cheat meal!

Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup (4 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1 (4-oz) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
11/2 cups French fried onion rings

Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x-7 in. baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 40 min.  Sprinkle onion rings evenly over top. Bake 5 minutes or until bubbly around edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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.
Continue reading “Frankenstein Bars”