I have a an inexplicable habit of making things harder for myself.  I always seem to think it’s going to give me some wild sense of accomplishment to bake a million things at once or make every bit from scratch.  In actuality, I would say that’s the case 70% of the time.  The other 30% of the time?  I”m left drained and utterly exhausted.

And it’s in times like this, that I remember how great a simple everyday cookie is.  So easy and almost effortless–and nothing is more satisfying that watching someone’s eyes light up when you bring them a warm cookie with a glass of milk.

So fairly recently, when a  friend was down in the dumps–she asked me for cookies.  And while chocolate chip cookies are everyone’s go to, I happen to prefer Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

My sister-in-law shared her recipe with me years ago and I think it’s a perfect base.  I modify things from time to time to cater to certain people, but I never stray too far.  Make these cookies thin and chewy or thick and chewy–it’s up to you.  Just one minor step to add for the thicker/denser cookie (which is what I did here–since my friend likes her cookies that way).

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes approximately 24 cookies

2cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 1/4 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.

In a bowl fixed to a stand mixer, cream melted butter, granulated and brown sugars.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.  Add water and vanilla and mix until well blended, about 5 minutes.

Add oats, raisins and flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until thoroughly blended.  If you’re looking for thicker/denser cookies, place the batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  If you prefer your cookies flatter and chewy,  then continue to drop by large tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. (I generally like them flatter).

Allow cookies to bake until light, brown–about 10-12 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with glass of ice cold milk!

I really tried to do that marathon of cookie baking that bloggers are all about during the holidays.  It started out ahead of pace–making two cookies in the first week.  And well, that was it until the week of Christmas.  What can I say other than it was a lot of poor planning and procrastination on my part. Next year! Next year, I’ll have a whole menu of cookies set up and I too will be one of the awesome bloggers who offer up a handful of cookies for you try BEFORE the holidays end. Well, it’s a good thing these cookies are scrumptious and can be eaten anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.

I will say this first–I’ve never been a fan of chocolate on chocolate cookies such as this one.  It’s always been a death-by-chocolate issue to me. I love chocolate, but a good cookie/dessert has to offer more than just chocolate decadence.  And well, these cookies definitely do.  They’re chewy and soft.  They have an incredibly smooth chocolate flavor.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that this cookie is deliciously versatile.  Ice cream cookie sandwich, anyone? I know, what cookie wouldn’t pair wonderfully with vanilla ice cream.  I’m just gonna have to ask you to trust me on this one. It’s amazing!  The slight bitterness of chocolate with vanilla ice cream is simple, yes, but still one of the most comforting desserts to serve up on a cold, rainy day.

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes ~20 cookies

Ingredients

2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa (I used Dutch-processed chocolate. I’ve also used Hershey’s special dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening, sugar, water and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, blend until combined.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and beat just until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at for 6-9 minutes taking care not to overbake them.  Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the pan before transferring to wire rack to cool.
–This is an old recipe I printed off while in college…I have no idea where it originally came from!

 

First things first–Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  I sure did!  Lots of friends and family–and I’m officially tired!  My kitchen is a mess after a week’s worth of baking–but I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas treats!  I wish I could show you how many boxes of butter I went through this Christmas.

Prebaked cookies

 

I love these cookies with a passion.  They’re amazing–and they don’t even have a hint of chocolate in them.  Says something, doesn’t it?  My sister in law first introduced them to me when I was just a kid–a good 15-16 years ago.  (Oh my gosh! That makes me sound/feel so old!  Bygones.)  To this day, they are still one of my favorite wintertime treats.  Call it nostalgia if you want–because it’s certainly 15% of why I love these things so much–but the bulk of it certainly rests on the fact that these are just pure sweet butter balls of goodness.

After rolling in sugar...you can see the warmth turns the sugar into a light shell.

 

I made three batches of this for my coworkers this year for Christmas.  Time consuming? You bet.  Getting to taste test a few cookies while dusting in powdered sugar? Sooo worth it.  And well, I love watching Mike giddily eating cookies with his coffee while flying his modified indoor helicopter.  Oh, and Mike is my fiance–not my son.

Snowball Cookies

makes approximately 12-16 cookies

Ingredients

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 milk
3/4  cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cups finely chopped nuts (I like almonds)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (or enough for rolling)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat (I LOVE my silpat!).
  2. In a stand mixer (or hand mixer if you don’t have one), cream butter and sugar until mixture becomes a pale yellow (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Blend in flour, cornstarch and nuts.
  5. Chill dough in fridge for about an hour.  This will make the dough firm enough for you to roll into balls.
  6. Once chilled, you can roll dough in bite-sized balls.
  7. Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes.  Cookie bottoms should be golden and cookies will be firm (though still fragile) to the touch.
  8. Carefully remove cookies and transfer to cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool slightly.
  9. Now, roll each cookie in powdered sugar. Make sure cookies are covered well.

When done correctly, once cookie is cooled, the slightly melted powdered sugar will have formed a wonderfully tasty shell.

Allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

 

I decided to go with pink frosting...but I guess white works 😛

 

 

Say what?! I dream about making tons of things–salted caramels, chicken pot pie, a three layer cake…and when I get really crazy, I think about giving french macarons a go.  One thing that never crosses my mind? Reproducing “America’s Favorite Cookie.”   A homemade oreo?  Really?  I will say this–the minute I saw this recipe, I knew I’d make it.  I felt it in my bones…moreover, I began to salivate at the very thought.

Let me say one thing about this dangerous cookie.  It’s freaking delicious.  The chocolate cookie is just amazing.  Dark, slightly crisp, and wonderfully chewy.  It’s the ultimate cookie. You almost don’t need the frosting.  But who are we fooling?  Eating desserts has nothing to do with necessity.  You put a cookie or a cupcake in your mouth and we all know what logic there was went out the window 3 minutes before.  This cookie is pure indulgence.  Does it taste like an Oreo?  Kinda, but my brain didn’t focus on anything other than the fact that this was one damn good cookie.

The recipe is super easy, but once ingredient will make all the difference–Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder.  If you want a thin cookie crust, make sure you use Dutch Processed Cocoa.  I don’t know what it is–but it makes the cookie super flat.  It really makes all the difference.  I made one bath with Hershey’s cocoa powder and they fluffed up and the cookie sandwich looked more like a whoopie pie than it did an oreo.  If you don’t  have it, it’s really not a huge deal–it’s still absolutely delicious.  But if you have the Dutch cocoa on hand or if you’re willing to get it, do.

Let me pass along some advice that Smitten Kitchen offered to her readers.  This is a sweet cookie.  If you’re like me, than you’re going to want to minimize how sweet the chocolate wafer is, considering how sweet the frosting is.  The original recipe says you can use anywhere from 1 cup of sugar to 1 1/2 cup.  If you enjoy it sweet, by all means go for the full amount.  I on the other hand have never done so.  I would limit the sugar to 1 1/4 cup at the most–even then the cookie is still quite sweet.  I may just limit it to one cup the next time to see how that goes.

Homemade Oreos

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 3/4-2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While  on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough begins to clump into one large mass away from side of the bowl.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once halfway thru. Allow cookie to rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, transfer frosting to pastry bag with a medium sized round tip.  Once cookies are cool, take 1/2 the cookies and pipe 1 tbsp of frosting in the middle of each cookie.  Now take a cookie of equal size and place gently on frosted cookie.  Press lightly, and gently manuever the cookie back and forth to spread the filling evenly around. Continue until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Got Milk?  I sure hope so…

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

They taste even better than they look...

I honestly left work last night with every intention of going to the gym.  I quickly threw together some routines and goals I wanted to accomplish that night–45 minutes worth of cardio, weights, make sure to hit all the upper body machines…but really, what does it matter now?  Instead, not only did I let my sister talk me out of going we decided we should bake.   After throwing out a few ideas (whoopie pies?  oatmeal cookies?  brownies?), I decided I wanted to use the marshmallows in my cupboard.  Lo and behold–from my laziness, these decadent monsters were born.

Let’s be frank–while, I am undoubtedly patting myself one the back for these beautiful cookies, they are pretty fool proof.  Chocolate, Marshmallows, and graham crackers to go with the usual cookie goodness?  These cookies are pretty amazing–and I think my colleagues will attest to that (cookie’s for breakfast?  Awww…you guys couldn’t have made me happier!).

Cutting jumbo marshmallows down was a bit of a headache

I love that you can still make out the "Hershey's" markings even after baking!

Deceptively simple looking, no?

Just about ready--back in the oven for just a bit longer

Ready!

The cookie has now entered the danger zone...into my belly you go.

If you love your family, friends, or colleagues–make them these cookies.  D-I-V-I-N-E!

S’more Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup vanilla sugar (you can use regular sugar too–but i love vanilla in cookies)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3 Hershey bars, broken up by hand (I do this to preserve the “Hershey’s” print)

In a stand mixer, combine the softened butter and sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, graham crackers, salt and baking soda and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips then cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Take a tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball, and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of dough, leaving about 2 inches between each to allow it to spread. Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.  Push a 2 – 5 marshmallows and a few pieces of a Hershey’s bar into each cookie. Return to oven and bake for 1 1/2-2 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows are a bit toasted. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for about a minute before transferring to wire rack to cool. Repeat process with leftover dough (hike temp back up to 375 F for initial baking and lower to 350F to finish off).

Have them hot or once their cooled down–because they are delectable!

An ever-adapted recipe, I adapted mine from here