Here's another cheeky advert from the "British Biscuit Advisory Board."
Carol's a big fan of my Cranberry Crunch Cookies. But I think this recipe won her over all over again:
Hi Greg! I'm glad I reminded myself of your Cranberry Crunch cookies, too - I picked up what I needed the other day and just made a batch of these tonight. I'm bringing them to a Thanksgiving party tomorrow, but of course I had to sample a couple now (have to make sure they are as good as I remember them to be...they are!) Thanks again for this great recipe. I know there will be some happy folks tasting them tomorrow!
Thanks again for your thanks, Carol! I hope the cookies were a success at your Thanksgiving party.
Shikin, a reader and real-life recipe user all the way from Singapore, wrote in with some blog-love for my Flat, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Hello =) Just so you know, I've baked about a million and five batches of these oatmeal cookies. Everyone loves them! Two weeks ago, I asked my students what they wanted on the last day of school (which was last Friday). Guess what they unanimously agreed on? Yes, you got it. THIS COOKIE. So in I came with an unbelievable amount of cookies and milk for 40 10-year-olds and we spent the last hour of the school term eating EXCELLENT cookies and chatting. So thank you for the gift of these cookies. I already love them. That they made my 40 children happy make me love the cookies a whole lot more. Much love from the Singaporean crunchy cookie lover, Shikin
Thanks, Shikin! I'm really glad these cookies helped make your end-of-term celebration a success. I'm so happy you and your students like them. :-)
Here are some pics from Plymouth, Massachusetts, birthplace of Thanksgiving (and bad drivers).
1) Pilgrim-era inspired cottages overlooking Plymouth Harbor. 2) Plymouth Rock. Yup...that's it. 3) Mayflower II, a full-size replica of the Pilgrims' ship.
Despite a few bumps here and there, I have a lot to be thankful for this year: family, old friends and new friends, and you--all my readers and real-life recipe users and cookie tasters.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I wish you all a happy, safe, food-filled day.
According to my What's Your Favorite Thanksgiving Sweet Treat? poll, people are topping off their turkey and stuffing with either pumpkin pie or a whole mess of other stuff. Gobble gobble gobble, indeed!
Poor hard sauce and cranberry bread get no love, with each getting only 1.8% of the vote.
Thanks to all who participated. Voting still remains open, so feel free to weigh in.
Hallee wrote in to ask a question about the shippability of my Stuffed Red Velvet Cookies, which have a cream cheese-based center:
My husband is in Afghanistan. He always has red velvet cake for his birthday (his late mother started that tradition and then died right after his 8th birthday, so he's never wanted anything else.) I've been looking for a red velvet cake cookie to send him and found this. We LOVE using ground up oatmeal - I found a phenomenal waffle/pancake recipe using that method. But I'm wondering about shipping these. They'll take about 2 weeks to get to him. I seal-a-meal cookies for him. These look like they'd collapse under the pressure of the sealing. So, I would probably just put them in ziplock then in gladware. Most of the time, the container carrying the mail will be outside or in a cargo plane with no heating, and it's cold outside. So I wonder if that will be good enough?
Hi, Hallee. Thanks for writing in and for sharing your family's wonderful tradition of red velvet birthday cake. Knowing what a treat and connection to home these cookies would be for your husband, I really, really want to tell you that you'll be able to send these cookies to him. But, based on some research I did for an earlier query about shipping my cheesecake-stuffed Golden Girls Cookies, I'm afraid I can't say with certainty that they'd be safe to ship. Here's some food-safety info on cream cheese that I found for my earlier post:
The Food Safety and Inspection Service, a department within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states that cream cheese (and, by extension, cream cheese-filled products) should be shipped refrigerated and kept cold. Check out the mail order food safety chart (cream cheese is about halfway down).
In addition, FoodSafety.gov's info for food safety during power outages states that you should discard any cheesecake that has been above 40º F for more than four hours.
I'd hate for your husband or any of his buddies to get sick from spoiled cream cheese. So, instead of stuffing the cookies with a cream cheese frosting, why not top them with a thick, nutty royal icing? Here's a quick recipe I adapted from the icing I used from my Margarita Cookies:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons water (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon vanilla
You'll want a thick but not too-thick icing, so fee free to add water as needed until you get the desired consistency. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies and set aside for the icing to harden. (You can pop them in the fridge for a bit to speed this process up.) These iced versions should hold up fine for seal-a-mealing and shipping.
I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year. And that your husband stays safe and returns home soon for some good and proper red velvet cake!
Line, a reader all the way from Denmark, wrote in to ask a question about the Rolo candies I use in my Chocolate and Salted-Caramel Cookies:
Hi :) love your blog. Do you think that I can use Dulce de leche instead of Rolo's? We don't have them here in Denmark. Maybe just ad a little melted chocolate under the dulce de leche :)
Hi, Line. Thanks for writing in! Essentially, these are thumbprint cookies, so I think the idea of using dulce de leche instead of the candies is a good idea. Just poke a little indentation into the cookie balls and scoop in some dulce de leche--about a 1/2 teaspoon's worth. Then sprinkle on the sea salt and bake.
I haven't tried this myself, but it seems like it would work. My only concern is about the dulce de leche leaking out of or being absorbed by the cookies while they bake. I guess it all depends on how thick your dulce de leche is. This is where your idea of using a little melted chocolate underneath the caramel could come in. If your dulce de leche is a little runny, the melted chocolate could provide a good foundation to keep the sauce from leaking out or being absorbed by the cookie. You wouldn't need much melted chocolate--just a light coating. If you're feeling fancy, you could even use a pastry brush to apply a thin, light coating of chocolate to the thumbprints before adding the dulce de leche. That should work!
The other night when I was chomping away at the movies, I thought of another candy that could be a Rolo stand-in. They're similar to Rolos--caramel centers coated in chocolate--but are much denser and chewier. And then I thought of how many dental problems a denser, chewier caramel center to these cookies could cause. So...I'm not recommending that other candy. :-)
Whitney wrote in recently to ask about freezing cookies:
Do any of your cookies freeze well? Can you freeze baked cookies as well as the cookie dough?
Hi, Whitney. Thanks for writing in. The baked cookies hold up really well in the freezer. I know from experience.
I've frozen cookies plenty of times, and they stay tasty for about 3 weeks. The cookies I froze were supposed to be for distribution later on to far-away family and friends, but--truth be told--they didn't always last long enough to make it to their intended destinations. I'll eat cookies hot, cooled, frozen, or thawed. It's that frozen part that often sabotages my good cookie-spreading intentions.
Frozen cookie dough holds up well, but I have noticed that cookies made with frozen dough bake up a little rounder than cookies made with fresh dough. The frozen guys don't spread out or flatten much--something to do with the leavening, I think. They're not as pretty as the ones made with fresh dough, but they taste just as good. But, of course, the danger of having frozen cookie dough on hand is that you've got frozen cookie dough on hand. Be prepared to snack on dough nubbins snapped from the mama log until you've got only enough dough left to bake off a few misshapen cookies.
Carol, a reader and real-life recipe user, wrote in to remind you--and me--about my Cranberry Crunch Cookies:
I admit I haven't tried the ones that OCG recommends (but I'll have to soon), so I can't compare - but his Cranberry Crunch Cookies are to die for. I made them several times last fall and they were a consistent hit. I adore them!
Thanks, Carol! I can't believe I forgot about these guys. And this is an award-winning recipe. I'm going to add them to that earlier post.
Marie, a reader from Canada (Hi, Canada!), wrote in with an interesting question:
So here's my dilemma... i have a cookie swap every year with me and my girlfriends.. not only do i have to come up with the most creative PACKAGING ever... I have to come up with the best cookie ever. I have been perusing your site (which is amazing by the way) and i want, in your opinion... the best cookie ever. You have so many to choose from!
Hi, Marie. Hmmm...that's a tough question. Kinda like asking a parent which of their kids is their favorite. But what the heck. I'll give it a go! I guess I do have some favorites, depending on the occasion and my mood. I hope these suggestions help. Good luck with the baking--and packaging--and have a fun cookie swap!
For something really unexpected and off the wall, I'd say go with my Copycat Momofuku Compost Cookies. They're salty and sweet and the perfect cookie to make if you're emptying out your cupboard. These guys have pretzels, potato chips, Fritos, and chocolate and peanut butter chips. Oh...and yeah...used coffee grounds. This is my take on the cookie made famous at Momofuku Milk Bar.
For something that will wow your fellow cookie-swappers, I'd say a stuffed cookie is the way to go. I have a growing collection of stuffed cookie recipes, but I think my Golden Girls Cookies are a showstopper. What could possibly compare to a cheesecake-stuffed cookie?
For something tasty and tropical, I'd recommend my Lime in the Coconut Cookies. I've made these so many times for family and friends that I've lost count of the batches. These are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
For something autumnal and Thanksgivingy, I'd have to go with my XXX Cranberry Cookies. They're eggless and contain three kinds of cranberries (hence the "XXX"): cooked, fresh, and dried. So good they're obscene.
For something Christmasy and pretty--and perfect for packing up for your fellow cookie-swappers--I'd have to go with my Yuletide (Peppermint Bark) Cookies. An oatmeal sugar cookie topped with chocolate and crushed candy canes. Fa-la-la-la-la, indeed!
Here’s the most up-to-date list.
Good Ol’ Peanut Butter
Dulce de Leche
Lavender & Lemon Lovelies
Stuffed Date Nut Cookies Maraschino Cherry Cookies Wine & Chocolate Cookies Almond Butter & Raspberry
Stuffed Date Nut Cookies
Maraschino Cherry Cookies
Wine & Chocolate Cookies
Almond Butter & Raspberry
Black Sesame Cookies
Meyer Lemon & Thyme
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
Peaches & Cream Cookies
Lemonade & Iced Tea Cookies
Rose Water Cookies
Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies
Goat Cheese Cookies
Oatmeal Cannoli Cookies
As promised, here's my peanut butter cookie topped with honey and sea salt.
I know...you're probably thinking I've lost it. Peanut butter, honey, and sea salt? Trust me. You'll like it.
I love the crunchy/chewy texture combination about as much as I love the salty/sweet flavor combination...which is a lot. And this cookie hits all the right mouthfeel and flavor buttons. It's like a chewier, more flavorful, less tooth-damaging version of peanut brittle. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?
I thought these would come out looking like old school peanut butter cookies--the flat kind with the crosshatches on top from the overlapping indentations of fork tines. They didn't, but the flattening step played an important part because it gave a nice, even surface for the honey and salt to stick to.
Using honey as a cookie glaze can be a little tricky. It's sticky and doesn't spread easily when cool but runs all over the place when hot. If you keep an eye on your oven, you'll see that the honey gets foamy as it heats up. If you've got a flat surface to coat, your honey will stick pretty much where you put it.
I used flaked sea salt because it's not as salty as regular old table salt and because it holds up pretty well when you sprinkle it on top of stuff and bake it.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1 3/4 cups oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup ground Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch
3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Here's the recipe for my Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies in process.
Cream the creamables: butter, dark brown sugar, peanut butter, and white sugar.
Combine the wet ingredients: an egg, vanilla, and milk.
Add the wet ingredients to the creamed creamables. Mix.
Grind the Cap'n Crunch and combine the dry ingredients.
Combine the dry ingredients and add to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix again.
Scoop the cookies and flatten them with a fork or spatula.
Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake. Salty/sweet, crispy/chewy, yum yum.
Melanie, a reader and real-life recipe user, emailed me the following questions after making my Apple Jack Cookies:
Hi Greg! :)
I tried making the applejack cookies yesterday, they taste great! However, i couldn't get them to be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Was it because of the apples?
While baking, my mother and I had an argument on how long the butter should be creamed for, or to what consistency. how long do you cream the butter and sugar for? Does it make a difference if it is creamed longer?
I discovered something amazing, silicon baking sheets! These things are amazing! the cookies pop right off the mat! They're so easy to clean and wash too! but does the oven temperature have to be higher coz i use the mats? when i took the cookies off the mat, i found condensation on it, do you think the mat was the cause of my soft cookies? :o
thanks for listening to all my questions! I was so excited after i found a blog dedicated to making oatmeal cookies, i went out and bought a bag of oatmeal right away! hahah! would be trying golden girls next! wish me luck! :)
Love (all the way form Singapore!)
Hi, Melanie. Thanks for writing in! I'll take on your questions one by one:
1) I've found that baking with apples can be a little tricky because the moisture content varies from one piece of fruit to another. The key to getting the right texture when making apple cookies is to keep an eye on the oven...and a finger on the dough. To make sure these cookies are done and not too soft, leave them in the oven until they are nice and evenly browned, the edges are firm, and the tops give some resistance when you poke them with your finger. You might want to let them rest for up to five minutes on the baking sheets before you remove them so that the carry-over heat from the oven can finish up their bottoms.
2) When creaming creamables, you want to be careful not to overbeat. Depending on the temperature/softness of your butter, it should take you only a few minutes to cream together the butter and sugar. If you overbeat the butter and sugar, your creambles will be to airy, which--I've found--leads to a flatter, crispier cookie that spreads out a lot. (Which is fine...if that's what you're looking for.) You'll know your creamables are good to go when when you can't see chunks of butter, and you've got what looks like a paste with even texture. Take a look at my Picturing posts to see what my creamables look like.
3) The condensation you saw on your Silpat is nothing to worry about. I don't think the baking mat was the cause of the too-soft cookies. I think both the condensation and the texture of the cookies means that you've just got to leave the cookies in the oven a little longer...that's all.
I hope this helps. Good luck on the Golden Girls Cookies. And congratulations on buying that big bag of oatmeal! :-)
Olivia, a reader and real-life recipe user, had this to say about my Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies:
I'm a HUGE fan of pumpkin cheesecake and made these last night. They are AMAZING! I never would have thought to bake with graham crackers!
Thanks, Olivia! I'm so glad you like them. And kudos to you for taking on a stuffed cookie recipe. The process is a little involved, but it's well worth the labor. As for the graham crackers... Well, I gotta give myself a pat on the back for that one.
After running some errands and visiting folks in town, my friend Katie and I stopped by Jacob Wirth to take a load off and to down some German nibbles.
1) A bucket of mini soft pretzels with mustard dippin' sauce. 2) Fried pickles with dill dippin' sauce. Not necessarily German but oh-so tasty. 3) Knockwurst with potatoes and sauerkraut. 4) Wiener schnitzel with Jaegermesiter sauce, dill speatzel, and peas.
Here's the recipe for Rene's Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies in process.
Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Surprise! No eggs.
Combine all the ingredients until the butter and vanilla are evenly distributed. Then grease a pie plate with butter.
Place the combined ingredients in the greased pie plate and press down into a flat, even disk.
Bake, slice into wedges, and let cool. Perfect for dunkin' in tea.
Rene, a fellow foodie at my new office, gave me this recipe to try out after I told him I had a strawberry shortcake cookie recipe on The List.
I told him I wanted to use a shortbread cookie base as the "shortcake" and then add dehydrated strawberries and strawberry jam.
He said I should give his oatmeal shortbread cookie a try and then play around with the recipe to incorporate the fruit. I told him I'd of course give it a try!
Buttery, oaty, and just right with a cup of tea. A 1/2 batch would also make a really good crust for a cheesecake or key lime pie. (Hmmm...I'd better write that down!)
Makes eight 1/4"-thick wedges. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Rene's Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies.)
|1 3/4 cups oatmeal|
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
When you're waiting in the ER for a CT scan, the strangest things pop into your head...like "What cookie am I going to do this Sunday?" and "Why can't I find a video of that song on YouTube?"
I've written about finding cookie inspiration before. I especially like the story of how I came up with my Sweater Weather Cookies. (If you couldn't tell by now, I really like this recipe.) But it occurred to me that there was something else that contributed to the DNA of that recipe. I know it sounds weird, but the cool, mellow feeling of Yo La Tengo's "Autumn Sweater" played a role in there somewhere. Download the song from iTunes and do some leaf-peeping...before the snow starts to fly. Enjoy!
My blog buddy Laurel had a pretty ingenious sweet/salty combination: candy corn and salted peanuts. And she wondered if I could come up with a cookie version of her unconventional combo. Then I saw packs of Nature Valley Sweet & Salty granola bars at the grocery store.
I love sweet/salty stuff, so I was all over this one: sweet honey and salty salt on top of a crispy/chewy peanut butter cookie.
Believe it or not, I've actually attempted a cookie that used whole honey-roasted peanuts in the recipe. Unfortunately, the peanuts dried out during baking and tasted chalky, and the flavor of the honey-roasted coating just kind of faded away. Disappointing all around. So for this cookie, I'm going to build the honey-roasted flavor into the recipe, not rely on coated peanuts themselves to provide the flavor.
I'm picturing my super-tasty peanut butter cookies, drizzled with honey, sprinkled with sea salt, and baked to perfection. And I think those old-school criss-cross fork marks will look cool and provide some nice nooks and crannies for the honey and salt.