Gingerbread Cookies

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Gingerbread Cookies by twocarolines.com

3 cheers for the smell of baking ginger and molasses in your house and a gorgeous plate of gingerbread cookies to share with your neighbors and friends.  To me, holiday cookie decorating is all about the kids, so I searched to find a recipe that gave me all the gingerbread flavor I wanted, but not quite as much bite as the most traditional cookies so little kids wouldn’t complain that they are “too spicey” as my 3 year old put it last year.  These ones are called “light spice” but they are HEAVY on delicious holiday flavor and with some bright and festive royal icing they tasted like everything that rules about Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

For the Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Icing:

  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • food dye (I enjoy the gel kind to keep your consistency, but liquid dye will work) and whatever sprinkles you like

Directions:

  1. For the cookies: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.
  3. Mix about half of the flour into the butter mixture. When well combined, add the cornstarch and the remaining flour.
  4. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half slightly to make a disk. Smooth the edges by rolling the disk along a lightly floured work surface. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or longer), for easiest rolling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough.
  7. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like. For slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. We like to roll these cookies 1/8″ to 1/4″inch thick. Use flour under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin.
  8. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap or another piece of parchment over it as you roll, pulling the plastic or parchment to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.
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    rolled out gingerbread by twocarolines.com

  9. Transfer the cookies to ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
  10. Bake them just until they’re slightly brown around the edges, or until they feel firm, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  12. For the icing: In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites tiny pinch of salt and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  I split mine into multiple colors by mixing them in dixie cups and piping them with disposable piping bags.  *Royal icing does contain raw eggs, I’ve never had a problem with this, my husband worked for a huge egg distributor for 5 years and as long as they are pasteurized and not super old, you are likely to be fine, but if you have a crazy sensitive stomach there are other icings you can find.
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    Christmas Cookies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour light spice holiday cookies and Alton Brown Royal Icing Recipe.

Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies by twocarolines.com

These incredible cookies were first discovered by our sister Kristin who became obsessed with them at the Nordstrom’s Cafe here in coastal Orange County – they are called the “Nordie” and they are such a sensational combination with crunchy, chewy, sweet, salty and chocolatey cookie perfection.  It took her a number of trials and errors before she found a recipe that not only tasted like the Nordstrom cookie, but was even better!  The original author of this recipe is vanilla and bean – check out her rad blog.  The “Nordie” is a large cookie and it’s baked longer than traditional chocolate chip cookies to make the coconut have a nice toasted flavor, but you can also bake them less time for more chew and less crunch if you prefer.  Another bonus with these cookies is how you can easily save the dough in the fridge or freezer and just scoop and bake what you want to eat or even bake them all and freeze completed cookies until you’re presented with a situation that only an insanely delicious cookie can solve.

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flout
1 cup whole wheat white flour (they taste great with only AP flour if you don’t have any wheat)
1/4 cup almond meal (can substitute with wheat germ, wheat bran, or just normal flour)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped
3 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment or silpat
  2. Mix together the flours, almond meal, baking soda, salt and cornstarch.  Set aside.
  3. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time until totally incorporated being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Then add the flour mixture in a few batches making sure to scrape the bowl.  Last add the coconut, nuts and chocolate chips mixing on low speed until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  5. To make the large cookies use a big 3-4 tablespoon scoop – only about 6 cookies per pan.  Bake about 17-20 minutes until nicely browned.  You can also make smaller cookies if you want and if you do bake them for less time, like check them around 9-10 minutes.  The original cookies are darker than an average cookie with a nice crunch to the outside, but they are also delicious baked just until the bottoms are brown if you prefer your cookie more chewy and less crunchy.  Pay more attention to doneness than bake times as times vary greatly depending on how large your cookies are.

 

Recipe adapted from vanilla and bean 

Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two Carolines Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

I realize that this is going to be a bold statement, so you might want to sit down. This is my ALL-TIME favorite cookie. I even posted this recipe twice on my old blog, because it went through quite a few iterations to reach Peak Cookie. It’s inspired by a favorite cookie from Specialty’s in SF that my friend and I used to get all the time during work breaks/after work/whenever we could. This recipe seems fairly close but is even better, if I do say so myself. I added a lot of healthy bits and bobs, so you could probably eat them for breakfast—not that I’ve ever done that*.

*Disclaimer: I may or may not have eaten these for breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • (Makes approximately 30 cookies)

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease cookie sheets or line with baking paper.

Mix oats, flour and almond meal, in a medium bowl. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and whisk until mixed in. Whisk in wheat germ and flax. Chop coconut and pecans very finely in small food processor (or old school with a good knife) and mix into the flour mixture.

Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill the dough in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough should be semi-firm before proceeding with next step.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop out dough and arrange, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, until firm around the edges and barely golden on top, about 9 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

NOTE: I think the cookies actually taste the best the next day. Also, the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered for up to a week.

-CK 1.0

Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Birdnests

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Chocolate coconut macaroon bird nest by twocarolines.com

Coconut Macaroons are the little bit messy fun and tasty sister of the French Macaroon.  The French version is always put together with expensive accessories and fancy words but the coconut macaroon is more fun and tasty, a beautiful mess of chewy goodness which makes for an ideal bird nest to hold everyones favorite seasonal candy, Cadbury mini eggs.  I was inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe that used shredded wheat and melted chocolate for nests, which was cute, but a macaroon nest is yummier and more fun.  In my first batch I baked the eggs which made them really melty and good but they cracked so in my second I put the eggs into the nests when they were right out of the oven which worked perfectly because the hot cookies still made the eggs nice and creamy and with the chewy chocolatey cookie it’s like a little Easter miracle!

4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sweetened dried coconut shredded or flaked.
Cadbury Mini Eggs

  1.  In a heatproof bowl melt your chocolate.  I do this in a pyrex using the microwave on defrost until the chocolate looses it’s shape and I can whisk it smooth.  If you don’t have defrost only melt in 20 second increments or you will burn your chocolate.  You can also use a double boiler if you prefer.  Set aside to cool some while you assemble the rest of your cookie ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites.  Add cocoa powder, sugar, salt and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.  Stir in the coconut and melted chocolate, making sure the coconut is completely coated with the chocolate mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm (doesn’t have to be completely firm, but at least firmed up enough to handle and shape).
  3. Preheat oven to 325.  Line 2 baking sheets with sil-pats or parchment paper.
  4. Place small mounds – I used a cookie scoop – on to your lined baking sheet spacing about 2 inches apart.  Once they are on, shape them into nests using hands or dipping a spoon into the center.  I wore some gloves and shaped them by hand.
  5. Bake 13-15 minutes or until macaroons are shiny and just set.  Remove from oven then put your eggs in while the macaroons are still hot.  Wait about 15 minutes to serve and keep leftover cookies covered.

Macaroon recipe adapted from Joyofbaking.com 

 

Dark Chocolate Chunky Cookies

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dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

Like any rational human, I sometimes have a deep and urgent desire for something intensely chocolate.  At these times, a chocolate chip cookie is not going to cut it, not even a cake, I need a lightning bolt of chocolate flavor, and these cookies are the PERFECT remedy for intense chocolate emergencies of all kinds.  They are not only a super amazing chocolate experience, but they are the perfect texture, packed with chunky bits of nuts and chocolatey goodness.  I found the recipe years ago at my Mother-In-Law’s house, they had a very unappealing name in the book (chocolate chubbies) but I read the ingredients – which included a combined total of 24 ounces of chocolate! Plus, the intro bragged of the recipe being from a famous restaurant in SoHo so I copied it to make once I got home.  It took me forever to do it because there is some serious chocolate chopping involved, and the recipe has a few more steps than your average cookie, but don’t be intimidated, it’s easy to follow and so special when you’re done.  This makes 2 dozen cookies – next time I will half it, because having that many of these dark chocolate chunky cookies around is guaranteed to spell trouble, they are irresistible!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs (room temperature if possible)
1 1/4 cups sugar (they called for superfine, but normal sugar worked fine for me)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat, or baking spray if you have neither of those)
  2. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate (semi-sweet and unsweetened) either in a double boiler or with my preferred method of melting them slowly in a microwave, either using defrost, or in 20-30 second intervals until the chocolate chunks start to lose their shape and you can whisk them to a smooth texture – melt SLOWLY or your chocolate will burn.  Let the melted chocolate mixture cool slightly, about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix (or sift if your fancy) the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.  Whip the eggs in the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla.  Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the tepid chocolate, making sure it is completely incorporated.  Change to the paddle attachment and reduce the mixer speed to low.  Gradually add the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Using a 2-inch diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans, placing the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake the cookies immediately–if you wait, they won’t be shiny after baking.  Bake about 15-18 minutes.  You can check done-ness by seeing if the when you lift a cookie from the pan the edge release easily, if they do, they’re done, even if they still don’t look baked at the top.  Cool and enjoy!
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dark chocolate chunky cookies by twocarolines.com

I wish I could remember the book I copied these out of to give them credit, if this looks familiar and you know where they came from let me know!

Butterscotch Cookies

Two Carolines Butterscotch Cookies.JPG

I’m more than a little obsessed with cookies. I rarely crave candy—when I want carbs, I want it to have flour and sugar and butter. I know, I know, you can’t stand what a health nut I am! Now is the time where I tell you what diet I’m on and how great it is. Well, if you must know, I’m on what could be called ‘The Inclusion Diet’, and like it’s moniker would suggest, it includes everything. These are the cookie version of my grandpa’s favorite Butterscotch Brownies that I blogged about a while ago and they are the new star item of my diet! If you want to join with me on this Eating Journey™, this is a good place to start.

Butterscotch Cookie Batter:

  • 1/4 cup browned butter
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown butter in small saucepan. Whisk the dry ingredients together; add eggs and vanilla to butter and whisk until combined. Mix butter mixture into dry ingredients until combined. Stir in butterscotch chips. Scoop onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, let cool.

Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine brown sugar and butter; bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add milk and boil slowly for 3 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar until well-combined. Dip the top of the cooled cookies in frosting and place on parchment paper. Pro tip: if you happen to have these a day or two later, warm up in the microwave for 5 minutes so they are a little gooey again. You’re welcome!

Makes 24 cookies.

-CK 1.0

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

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This time of year we want ALL the spices. Cloves, allspice, cinnamon and—my personal favorite—ginger! And that’s not just because I get called “Ginger Lady” when I visit Turkey. I want all the ginger drinks and edibles! These cookies are the product of two recipes that I really, really like. So I thought they’d make the ultimate “power cookie”. They are super soft and chewy but you can bake them a little bit longer if you want more of a crisp cookie experience.  -CK 1.0

1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 egg

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cacao Lindt bars, but you could use chocolate chips in a pinch)
Sugar for rolling

  1. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat brown sugar, oil, ginger and egg, until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in chocolate chunks; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until just before the surfaces crack, but not too doughy—about 7 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.