Cookies, Brownies

Lemon-Rosemary Shortbread (Adapted from David Crofton’s recipe in Fine Cooking, 2008)

From The Best Job in the World

Makes about 3 to 3 ½ dozen cookies

For the Cookies:

  • 15 oz. (3-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:

  • 1 large egg white (see note at right)
  • 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar; more as needed
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice

Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest and rosemary. Add the egg and vanilla; continue beating until well blended and smooth, about 30 seconds more. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix until the dough is just combined; don’t over mix. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll one half of the dough between two sheets of parchment to an even 3/16-inch thickness. Slide the dough and parchment onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line four cookie sheets with parchment. Using a 3-1/2-inch (or similar) Christmas tree cookie cutter cut out the cookies and arrange them 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. Press the scraps together, reroll, and cut (if the dough becomes too soft to handle, chill until firm). Repeat one more time and then discard the scraps. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake two sheets at a time until the cookies’ edges are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating and swapping the sheets’ positions halfway through for even baking. Cool the cookies on racks.

Make the icing: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth. If not using immediately, transfer the icing to a small bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the icing to prevent it from drying out.

To Decorate: I like to use a small zip top baggy instead of a pastry bag, mainly because I hate cleaning pastry bags. If you have a piping tip set, use the one with the smallest round opening. And if you don’t, just cut the tiniest bit of corner off the plastic baggie once it is filled. Outlining the cookies with icing is pretty standard, but I get bored easily with that. Feel free to decorate them however you see fit. Cookie artists are the best people 😉

Taxman Oatmeal Cookies Makes about 5 -6 dozen

From Culinary Currency

  • 1 stick (8 TBSP) softened butter
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups oatmeal (I use a combination of quick cook and old-fashioned)
  • ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • Zest from one orange

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), cream the butter and shortening together with the sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the almond and vanilla extracts and orange zest and mix well. Beat in the flour mixture until fully mixed. Measure out the oatmeal, raisins and nuts into the bowl you used for dry ingredients, and toss together a bit to distribute everything evenly. Add to the cookie dough and mix until well incorporated — I start this in the mixer, but finish with my hands so there isn’t a pile of dry oats at the bottom of the bowl.

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoon onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about a half-inch between. These aren’t going to spread too much, so I like to squash them down a bit with the heel of my hand before they go in the oven.

Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Cool on a rack, and store in airtight container. They also freeze well for the next time you need some culinary currency. Calories: approximately 70-75 per cookie, depending on yield.

Chocolate Christmas Diamonds Makes one 18X13″ sided cookie pan full

From Seasonal Schizophrenia

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter (I like to use salted butter for this recipe)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz. package)
  • colored sprinkles, chopped nuts or shredded unsweetened coconut for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until a dough forms. Chill slightly – this will make pressing the dough into the sheet pan much easier.

Pat the chilled dough evenly into the pan, filling it. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot shortbread and let melt completely. Once the chocolate is melted, spread over the pan, covering completely. Sprinkle with nuts, jimmies (sprinkles to we New Yorkers) or shredded coconut. Cut the cookies** while they are hot or you won’t be able to get nice diamonds. Leave in pan and cool completely and set the chocolate. Once the cookies are cool and chocolate hard, use a sharp knife to cut again in the grooves you made and around the outside of the pan. Remove from pan and store in a cool place. Using a metal spatula helps get these out of the pan more easily.

** Cutting into diamond shape: (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this wrong and made chocolate Christmas squares…)

With a sharp knife, make diagonal slices about 1” wide across the pan lengthwise. Then make slices about the same width parallel to the short side of the pan.

Orange Olive Oil Cookies Makes 4- 4 ½ dozen cookies

From Religious Gastronomy

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ½ TBSP orange zest
  • 1 tsp Cointreau (you could substitute vanilla if you like)
  • ½ cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (I use a combination of bittersweet and semisweet)
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper. Wisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add in the orange zest and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl mix the eggs, orange juice, olive oil, and Cointreau or vanilla together. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined (don’t over mix). Add in the candied orange peel and mix until incorporated.

Set the oven to 375°F and chill the dough for about 15 minutes or until the oven is up to temperature. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoon onto the prepared pans, leaving about 1-½ inches between since they spread a bit. Return the bowl of dough to the fridge. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes then remove to rack to cool completely. Cool the pan until they are just warm to the touch before adding more dough. To speed things up, I like to prepare 4 pans with parchment so that I don’t have to wait for the pans to cool before another batch can go in. Once all the cookies have cooled completely, store in the freezer for at least an hour before dipping in chocolate.

The“Gelt”-ing:

Line 1-2 cookie sheets with cling wrap and chill for a few minutes in the freezer or fridge. Cold pans and chilled cookies mean the chocolate will set quickly.

Add the chopped chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is mostly melted. Remove from microwave and stir well until all the chocolate is completely melted. Take the chilled pans and cookies from the fridge and spread the bottom of each cookie with a layer of chocolate. (You could use an offset spatula if you have one, but a butter knife works just as well.) Place the cookies chocolate side down on the pans. When the pans are full and all the cookies are dipped, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.

Once the bottoms have set, remove to a plate, light the candles and enjoy! Calories: approximately 75-85 per cookie. [Leftover cookies keep better when stored in the freezer.]

Savory Fennel Parmesan Biscotti

From Technology Dating, or “Hey Baby…What’s Your Hashtag?

Makes about 40-50 biscotti

  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your taste
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Put the nuts in a shallow pan and roast until fragrant, about 7 minutes, tossing them occasionally . Keep an eye on them – they go from toasted to burned quickly. Let cool and finely chop.

In a medium bowl (or bowl of electric mixer), combine the flour, ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, cornmeal, Pecorino Romano, fennel seeds, salt, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, black pepper and cayenne. Stir in the chopped nuts. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg. If you are making by hand, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour the buttermilk egg mixture into the well. Stir with a fork until crumbly dough forms. If using the mixer, add in the wet ingredients with the mixer on the lowest setting, then mix a little faster until the ingredients just come together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth but still slightly sticky. Divide the dough into four parts and cover with plastic wrap. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time and keeping the rest tightly wrapped, roll the dough into a 1-inch diameter (about 14 inches long). Repeat with the remaining dough. Put the logs on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake on the top 2 shelves of the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. As the logs bake, the tops may split down the middle. Let the logs cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 200° F. Transfer the logs to the work surface, and using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, slice the logs into 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices cut side up on the baking sheets and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes** (see note below on baking times below) until hard to the touch but not browned. Turn the biscotti over, sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBSP Parmigiano, and bake 40 minutes longer until they are dry and crisp. Set the biscotti aside to cool and dry further several hours or overnight. The biscotti will keep several weeks in an airtight container.

**Note on baking times: You can also bake these less time on the second baking for a softer cookie, about 20-25 minutes per side. They will have a texture closer to the wine biscuits you find at wine tastings. I like them either way.

Calories: approximately 50 per cookie

Veneziano Zaeti (Venetian Polenta Cookies) Makes about 2 dozen

From The Italian Journal: A Prologue

These cookies, made yellow by cornmeal and egg yolks, are a staple in every bakery in Venice and with a strong cup of coffee make the perfect start to the day!

The original recipe I found was in grams (and in Italian), so after translating I decided to include both grams and cups so everyone could follow.

  • 250 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks plus one tablespoon)
  • 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
  • 250 grams all purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 150 grams corn flour (1¼ cups cornmeal)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 generous shot, or 2 generous tablespoons of vin santo, grappa, limoncello, or any other liqueur you’d like, or you could leave out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 200 grams (1 ¼ cups) raisins or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180 C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla and vin santo (or whatever you are using) and mix thoroughly.

Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix until completely incorporated. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto paper-lined cookie sheets, and form the cookies into ovals about 2 ½ inches long. The cookies will spread a good deal, so only put two next to each other (I got about 6/sheet, evenly spaced.)

Bake for 10 minutes, reverse sheets, and bake another 10 minutes until slightly golden brown on bottom. Cool on rack, brew up the espresso, and mangiare! Calories: approximately 200 per cookie, but it IS breakfast, and you’ll walk that off on the cobblestones… ;-)

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

From Mums, Mommies and Other Mothers

Makes one 13×9” pan full – how many you get out of that is up to you!

  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder (this is a mild chili – you could leave out, or if you wanted it spicier, substitute ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts, plus ½ cup peanut halves for top
  • 4-6 TBSP creamy peanut butter
  • Ganache for drizzling on top (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray foil with cooking spray. (This will make it easy to remove the cooled brownies from pan and cut up.)

Microwave chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in large bowl on HIGH in 30-40 second intervals (stirring between) for 1 – 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, add the dry ingredients and nuts, mix well. Add dry ingredients into the wet, mix until combined (don’t overmix – just until you see no more dry spots) and pour into prepared pan. Drop 4-6 TBSP of peanut butter around the top of the pan, then take a butter knife and drag it through the peanut butter, making swirls as you go for a marbled design. (Be careful not to put the tip of the knife all the way down to the bottom or you’ll tear the foil.)

BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not over bake.) Let cool a little while you make the ganache.

For ganache drizzle:

  • 3 ½ ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (if using bittersweet, add 1/2 tsp honey)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • A pinch (about 1/8 tsp) sea salt
  • ½ tsp strong coffee, espresso, or instant espresso powder

Melt the ingredients over double boiler or in the microwave (1 minute should do). Stir until completely incorporated and pours well off a large spoon. Drizzle ganache over the top of the warm brownies, and sprinkle the peanut halves on top.

Chill brownies thoroughly before cutting. Use the foil to remove the brownies from the pan and cut into squares. These can be made a day in advance. Store in refrigerator and take out 15-20 minutes before serving. Leftovers keep well in the freezer, but I have a feeling storing leftovers will not be necessary…

Almond Sandwich Cookies with Mocha Ganache

Makes about 30 sandwich cookies

From Temporary Amnesia

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 2 ounces almond paste
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Mocha ganache (see recipe below)
  • Apricot jam (or your favorite flavor)
  • Confectioner sugar and cocoa powder for dusting finished cookies

Cream the butter by hand or in a mixer. Add the almond paste and beat for 2-3 minutes until thoroughly combined. Add egg and almond extract and beat well. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture (if you are using an electric mixer, add slowly on low speed). Once the flour is all in, beat the mixture for a minute or two until dough is formed. Knead the dough 2 or three turns, then wrap in cling film and chill thoroughly for an hour or two (it’s a sticky dough and chilling until firm will make it easier to roll out and cut). If you are using it, prepare the ganache while the dough chills.

Mocha ganache

The amount listed makes enough ganache to fill about half to two-thirds of the sandwiches, depending upon how generous you are. You could also double the recipe to fill them all. I like these with jam too, so I made the lesser amount.

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (semisweet, bittersweet or a combination)
  • 3 TBSP plus 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Heat the cream and espresso powder together in the microwave for 30-40 seconds to dissolve the coffee. Mix well and add in the rest of the ingredients. Heat again for 15-30 seconds and them mix thoroughly until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside and let cool and thicken at room temperature.

To make the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 1/8th inch thickness on a well-floured board. Cut out 2” circles re-rolling the scraps. Place cookies on parchment lined sheet (they can be close together since they don’t spread) and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just starting to get color.

Cool the cookies on a rack for 5 minutes. Put about a teaspoon of the ganache or jam in the center of on cookie (on underside, or side that was touching the cookie sheet), cover with a second cookie and gently press just until the ganache or jam spreads to the edge. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Sprinkle the jam-filled cookies with powdered sugar, and the ganache-filled ones with a little cocoa powder mixed with a little powered sugar and chill until fillings firm up. Cookies can be stored in the fridge or freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving. Calories: about 90 per sandwich cookie.

Cinnamon Chocolate Hearts Makes 24-30

From The Other 4-Letter Word

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP cream or milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (you can substitute your favorite chocolate.) There will probably be leftover melted chocolate, so I usually pick up some dried apricots, candied orange peel, pretzels or fresh strawberries when I know I’m making these cookies for a little extra dip-worthy delight.

Additional equipment: heart-shaped cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Thoroughly cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg, then milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, then add them to the butter mixture and incorporate thoroughly. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball, then pat out into a disk. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick and cut out into hearts. Collect the scraps and re-roll (try not to add too much flour or you’ll get tough cookies.) Bake for 10-12 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Cool completely on rack before dipping.

Melt chocolate over a water bath (bowl over simmering water) or in the microwave (use 30 second intervals so you don’t scorch the chocolate). Dip one half of the cookie in the chocolate. Cool on parchment or wax paper covered tray at room temp for about 30 minutes then put in fridge for the chocolate to harden completely. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. I like to store in fridge and bring to room temperature before serving. These freeze well too. Calories: approximately 125 per cookie…but you can figure out a way to ‘burn’ that off! 😉

Coconut Oat Cookies Makes about 38 cookies

From The “Box”

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup ‘old fashioned’ oats (don’t use quick cook kind)
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 TBSP Lyle’s Golden Syrup (you could use agave or Karo syrup if you can’t find Lyle’s, but it is worth it to try to find it – it’s delicious on pancakes or oatmeal too!)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, coconut and sugar and lime zest and set aside.

Melt the butter, syrup, 2 TBSP water and salt in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until butter has melted. Add to dry ingredients, stirring well with a wooden spoon.

Drop by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet and flatten down with the back of the spoon or bottom of a juice glass to spread them into 2 ½ to 3” cookies. These cookies don’t spread much, so you can fit them fairly close together on the sheet.

Bake until the cookies are light golden on the bottom (do not allow them to get too dark)- about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Calories: approximately 115 per cookie.

The next three recipes are from the post Bake it once, bake it FOREVER

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti (Inspired by a recipe I found in Gourmet magazine 20 years ago)

Makes about 3 dozen 1/2”-wide biscotti

I like these just as they are, but they aren’t bad dipped in white chocolate if you feel so inclined.

  • 1 1/3 cups dried orange cranberries (available from Trader Joe’s, or if you can’t find them, use regular dried cranberries and add a tsp of grated orange zest.)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios (I’ve made these with toasted slivered almonds and they are very nice too, but the pistachios help add to the holiday color scheme)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water to make an egg wash

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cover the dried cranberries in very hot water and soak for 10 minutes to plump them up a bit. Drain and pat dry on paper towels.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or butter and flour it so the cookies don’t stick). Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt (and orange zest if using) in large bowl with electric mixer. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and milk, beat just until dough forms. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix at low speed until just combined (you don’t want to break up the pistachios too much).

Halve the dough and shape into two 13×2-inch logs, making sure to leave plenty of room between them – they will spread a bit. This dough can be pretty sticky, so flour your hands and board well. Brush logs with egg wash.

Bake in middle of oven until just golden, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 5-10 minutes until they are cool enough to touch. Transfer the log to a cutting board, and slice diagonally (a serrated knife works best) into 1/2 to 3/4 inch biscotti (I like them a little thicker). Arrange the slices cut side down in 1 layer on the cookie sheet. You don’t need to leave space between them since they won’t spread anymore.

Bake another 20-25 minutes, turning once, until they are slightly golden and crisp. These keep for about 2 weeks in an airtight container. Calories: approximately 90 per ounce.

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti (Adapted from Gourmet magazine)

Makes about 24-30 biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest (optional – chocolate and orange are a good combination, but you can leave out if you don’t like it)
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • Optional (but really, is dipping in chocolate EVER optional?): 4 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted for dipping.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper (or butter and flour so the cookies don’t stick).

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

The dough is pretty sticky, so I find the easiest way to shape them into logs is by putting half of the dough onto a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, and using that to shape into slightly flattened log, approximately 12 inches x 2 inches. Repeat with the other half of dough. Put the logs onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches room between them (they will expand). Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and bake 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. A serrated knife works well here. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. If you like, dip one end of the biscotti into melted bittersweet chocolate, and refrigerate until the chocolate sets up. The biscotti keep for a week or two in airtight containers in a cool place and freeze very well too. Calories: 120 per ounce.

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti (From Bon Appetit)

Makes about 40

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plus 3 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3 TBSP milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix flour, 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend. Set aside. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add 1 egg; beat well. Add egg yolk; beat well. Mix in vanilla, then dry ingredients. If it’s a really dry day, you may need to add a few tablespoons of milk to get the dough to come together. If so, add it one tablespoon at a time until you can form logs.

Transfer dough to work surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into 9-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Transfer logs to baking sheets. Beat remaining egg in small bowl. Brush logs with egg. Bake until golden and firm to touch (dough will spread), about 45-50 minutes. Cool on baking sheets. Maintain oven temperature.

Mix 3 TBSP sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in small bowl to blend. Using serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch-wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti, cut side down, on baking sheets. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over each biscotti. Bake until pale golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on racks. Store in airtight container. These keep well for a week or so.Calories: Approximately 70 per biscotti.


Espresso Shortbread (from Susan Spungen’s recipe in More Magazine)

From Mocking the gods

Makes 26 cookies

I like to dip these caffeinated little lovelies in dark chocolate once they are cooled for an extra special treat.

  • 1 stick (8 TBSP) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground espresso
  • ½ tsp instant espresso
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups flour

Preheat oven to 300°F. With a mixer, cream together butter, sugars, ground espresso, instant espresso and salt until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Slowly add flour. Mix until no flour pockets remain. Shape dough in to a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until firm (about 30 minutes).

Place dough between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper. Roll out into about ¼ inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch decorative cookie cutter (I use a 2-inch scalloped biscuit cutter.) Place on parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Chill again until firm.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until edges are set and just turning golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Calories: about 65 per cookie (without chocolate)

SEVERED BODY-PART COOKIES

From Sweet Vengeance

Each recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending upon which body part you sever. Calories: approximately 100-125 per cookie

** Gruesome shapes: Technically, they don’t make cookie cutters in the shape of spleens, livers, kidneys, but they do make hands. These work very well provided you lop off a finger or two. Eyeballs are easily poked out using a small juice glass or biscuit cutter. I’ve also been known to sever gingerbread men heads and limbs. As for spleens, I use a holly or leaf-shaped cutter. Does it look like a spleen? Do YOU know what a spleen looks like? Yeah, neither does anyone else, so just tell them it’s a spleen. As far as other shapes, feel free to get in-touch with the little ax-murderer inside you and make them up as you go!

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP cream or whole milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Thoroughly cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg, then milk. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, then add them to the butter mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball, then pat out into a disk. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick, and cut out in gruesome shapes.** Bake for 10-12 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Cool completely on rack before “bloodying” with icing.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp salt

Add espresso powder to the chocolate, and melt over a double boiler, or in the microwave (use 30 second intervals so you don’t scorch the chocolate). Set aside to cool a bit. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the extracts and chocolate. Whisk the flour and salt together in a separate bowl then add to the wet ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together in a ball, then pat out into a disk. Don’t chill (it will make the dough too crumbly). Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick, and cut out in gruesome shapes.** Collect the scraps and re-roll, but try not to add too much extra flour. These are a bit crumbly and delicate to begin with and too much bench flour makes them more so. Bake for 10 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Watch these carefully – burnt chocolate tastes frightful! Cool completely before “bloodying” with icing.

Royal icing

(If you are uncomfortable using raw egg white, there are several recipes for royal icing on-line that use meringue powder.)

  • 1 large egg white (you may need to add a few drops of water if the icing is too stiff)
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, vanilla or almond extract

Beat the egg white and cream of tartar until frothy. Gradually add 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar until the mixture begins to stiffen and turn opaque white. Add 1 tsp lemon juice or extract and mix in thoroughly. The mixture should be stiff but still pliable.

Separate the icing into 3 bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl to get a deep bloody red (add more sugar if the mixture thins too much. Add blue or green to another bowl (for the center of the eyeballs). The plain white icing will be used to create the white of the eyes.

Put the blood icing in a small plastic bag with the tip cut off (you want just a very small hole) or pastry bag with a small piping tip. Do the same in a second bag for the eye color.

Once the cookies are cooled completely, bloody them appropriately along the hacked off edges. Leave them to dry overnight. They keep well in an air tight container for about a week. Make sure you put something heavy on top of the lid…you wouldn’t want them to crawl out….BWAAAAAHAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Garbage can cookies

From A pound of dirt before you die…

This is a very adaptable recipe. If you like other nuts, dried fruit or chips, feel free to substitute or add them in.

Makes about 30 cookies

  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup honey roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and soda. Add the chopped peanuts and mix well. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and eggs and beat until incorporated. Add in the flour peanut mixture and mix until incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Take 2 TBSP portions of the dough and form into balls like you would if you were making meatballs (about the size of ping-pong balls). Put on the cookie sheets and use the heel of your hand to press down evenly to make cookies about 2 ½-3 inches round. Give them a little room – they spread out a bit. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cool on a rack. These guys are will be a little crisp on the outside and soft in the middle…just how I like em’! Calories – approximately 135 per cookie.


Fleur de sel brownies Makes 24 brownies, or one BIG one, if you are having that kind of day…

From Dear Dr. Nobel…

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray foil with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 ½ – 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and nuts, mix well and pour into prepared pan.

BAKE 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely. Use foil handles to remove brownies from pan before cutting to serve.

For ganache frosting:

  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (if using bittersweet, add 1 tsp honey)
  • 1/4 cups butter
  • a pinch (about 1/8 tsp) fleur de sel or other flakey sea salt (maldon or gray salt work fine too) plus ½ tsp for sprinkling on top
  • 1 tsp strong coffee or espresso

Melt the chocolate with the butter, coffee, and pinch of salt over double boiler. Stir until completely incorporated and spread over cooled brownies. Sprinkle up to a 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or malden salt over ganache (you want just a hint of salt on top.)

Chill thoroughly before cutting. These can be made a day in advance. Store in refrigerator and take out 15-20 minutes before serving. Calories: 260/serving.

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