Friday, June 21, 2024

Chewy Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla cookies embedded with rainbow sprinkles, photographed on a blue and pink plate.

Summer is here and I suppose it is time to start thinking about different cookie recipes that are a little bit lighter. It’s hard with cookies, as in the summer I have more time, but then it isn’t the best atmosphere in my house to bake. Unless it is the hottest day, I try to find a recipe that is a little simpler and doesn’t require too long in the oven.

I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and while it isn’t exotic in terms of ingredients, the sprinkles made this cookie fun. The recipe notes that you can use whatever sprinkles you want, which makes this the perfect cookie for any occasion. I had some time, and I went out to find more interesting sprinkles. This was harder than expected, and I ended up with fairly traditional sprinkles, although the ones I used were a slightly different color palette.

These cookies use a combination of butter and shortening; the butter provides crispness, and the shortening provides chewiness, so these cookies are just lovely. The sprinkles, at least the ones I used, were round and liked to bounce, which was tricky! The dough is soft, and it helped to reshape the cookie into a round after rolling in the sprinkles. These baked up fine, although I worried about the 400-degree oven temperature, but it was no issue. These chewy cookies with a bit of crispness are lovely, and some of the sprinkles fall off while you are eating them, but that’s ok.

Chewy Sprinkle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5+ ounces sprinkles

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium until light. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until the dough comes together.

Place the sprinkles into a small bowl. Shape the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and slightly flatten the balls. Roll the dough in the sprinkles and press so that the sprinkles adhere to the cookie dough. As needed, reshape the cookies so that they are rounded. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and look set. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: sprinkles may stain or transfer their color to other items.

Recipe from Pear Tree Kitchen

Friday, June 14, 2024

Nutter Butter Bars

Two Nutter Butter Bars: gooey bar cookies flavored with chopped Nutter Butter cookies and topped with additional chopped Nutter Butters, photographed on a white plate with a blue swirly edge

I did a lot of baking recently for a retirement party, but I still wanted to make cookies to share with folks at work. It’s been really strange baking for work, as we have a big mix of people on campus and off, and all sorts of activities happening as well. I wanted to make something that was popular with lots of folks, and I know that peanut butter is typically a winner.

This bar cookie calls for chopped Nutter Butter bars, both in the dough and sprinkled on top of the bars. I had all of the ingredients except the Nutter Butter cookies, but I knew I’d be stopping next to a grocery store. The grocery store had chocolate covered Nutter Butter cookies and Nutter Butter cookies with twice the filling. No regular Nutter Butter cookies? I figured that the extra filled Nutter Butters would be fine.

This recipe originally called for the Nutter Butter cookies and the addition of milk chocolate chips. I had already decided that I was going to leave out the chocolate chips, as I figured that the Nutter Butter cookies were rich enough. I guess if I would have used the chocolate covered Nutter Butters and done it all in one step! I liked keeping the recipe just with peanut butter flavor. These bars baked up with no fuss and also cut easily. I love the ease of the bars and the peanut butter flavor!

Nutter Butter Bars
½ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 Nutter Butter cookies, chopped
Additional chopped Nutter Butter cookies

Heat the oven to 350. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and mix until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, mixing on medium until combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until almost combined and then fold in the 12 chopped Nutter Butter cookies with a spatula.

Press the dough into the prepared pan. The dough is sticky, so you may need to use your hands to press the dough in evenly. Top the dough with additional chopped Nutter Butter cookies. (I used 5 chopped Nutter Butter cookies.)

Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the bars begin to brown around the edges. Allow them to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into bars.

Recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Friday, June 7, 2024

Butterfinger Browned Butter Cookies

Rows of Butterfinger Browned Butter Cookies

I have been coming across recipes recently that call for chopped up Butterfinger candy bars. While I find Butterfingers a little difficult to eat, I think chopped up in a cookie recipe would be lovely. I knew that they now make Butterfinger Bits, which are pre-chopped Butterfingers, which sounded much better than cutting them myself. I guess they aren’t carried by every grocery store, but they weren’t too hard to track down.

These cookies are classic, with the only variation being the inclusion of browned butter. I have made browned butter a number of times, and it isn’t hard but it is important to pay attention as the butter browns. I occasionally get the heat too hot, and I consistently must remind myself to not have the heat on high. I can burn quickly, and if your butter burns that will be all you can taste.

Letting the dough chill with these cookies is important, so take your time making them. If the butter is too warm it can impact other ingredients, which is not good. Once baked, these cookies are a little puffy but they flatten as they cool, making some perfectly round cookies! The Butterfingers add a lovely buttery taste and if you don’t pay attention, you could eat a lot of these in a sitting!

Butterfinger Browned Butter Cookies
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped Butterfingers/Butterfinger Bits

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. The butter will melt and start to foam. Watch as the butter cooks, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter begins to brown and smells nutty. Once the butter is golden brown, remove from the heat and transfer to a small dish. Cool the butter to room temperature.

Once the butter is cool, make the dough. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be glossy. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until incorporated and then fold in the Butterfinger Bits.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Shape the dough into 1-1/2 tablespoon mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Grandbaby Cakes

Friday, May 31, 2024

Cookie Dough Brownie Cookies

A chocolate cookie, topped with a cookie dough ball, covered in chocolate. Photographed on a gold plate.

In the spring, I have a fair number of birthdays and celebrations that I help celebrate, and I always want to find just the right thing to make. I will say that this year has been fairly challenging, and even if I think of the right recipe to make it may or may not happen on the expected timeline. That’s ok, as I bake because I want to and because I enjoy it, not for other reasons. Hopefully time works out well, but sometimes it doesn’t.

For one friend, cookie dough recipes are a good choice. I picked a few different recipes that were different than what I had made before and let her choose her favorite. She picked what would have been my first choice and I love when that happens. The basis of this recipe is a brownie mix, and it’s nice to use that type of convenience every once in a while. Due to the unbaked cookie dough, this recipe is every so slightly different, but it is quite minimal.

I will say that this is the first recipe that has you cook the (potential) bacteria out of the flour. This may be cautious, but takes little time. Other than that, you make the dough balls, bake the cookies, then put everything together. I think the brownie-based cookie was a little crumbly, but I think I needed to mix it a little better. When these cookies are said and done, they are a substantial cookie! They are large any way you look at them, but oh so good! They are very chocolatey, but would you want it any other way?

Cookie Dough Brownie Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

18-ounce box fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
Semi-sweet melting chocolate

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the flour on a baking pan and bake for 5 minutes, killing any existing bacteria. Allow the flour to come to room temperature before using in the recipe.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until creamy. Stir in the milk and vanilla, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the cooled flour and mini chocolate chips. Shape the dough into 24 balls and freeze for 30 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese, and egg, making a thick, sticky dough. Shape the dough into 24 cookies, smoothing the edges to make a round cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set. Once the cookies come out of the oven, immediately press a frozen dough ball into the center of each cookie. Allow the cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler. Top each cookie with about ½ tablespoon of melted chocolate, covering the cookie dough. Allow the cookies to set before serving.

Recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T

Friday, May 24, 2024

Butter Rum Blondies

Two cake bar cookies with the flavor of brown sugar and toffee. Photographed on a teal square plate.

At work recently, there was the dilemma of extra butter. There was a pound of butter there, and I think it may have been opened, but maybe only a tablespoon had been used. I kept meaning to ask about it, and it was not getting any newer sitting in the refrigerator, so I asked around. While we aren’t 100% sure about the origin of the butter, I said I would be happy to take it and transform it into cookies. I am sure you aren’t surprised that was an acceptable idea!

The butter was salted butter, which is different than I typically use, but it isn’t too hard to adjust for salt in a recipe or two. For this recipe, using salted butter, I simply left out the additional ½ teaspoon of salt. I am not normally someone who leaves out salt, as that adds a lot of flavor, but there was salt in the butter, the toffee chips, and so on. I figured I would be fine.

These bars are quick and easy to come together. I wanted to make sure that these contained no chocolate, and usually the store carries two types of toffee bits: with and without chocolate coating. I had ones with chocolate so I picked up some chocolate-free ones to have on hand. I was worried that these would look a little plain, but they were beautiful when they came out of the oven and cut so easily!

Butter Rum Blondies
¾ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½-1 teaspoon rum extract
1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toffee bits
Additional toffee bits, if desired

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and rum extract. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the toffee bits.

Spread the dough into the prepared pan. If desired, top with additional toffee bits.

Bake for 23-26 minutes, until golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Recipe from The Country Cook

Friday, May 17, 2024

Lemon Ginger Bakewell Slices

A Lemon Ginger Bakewell Bar with a pastry base topped with ginger curd and almond frangipane. Photographed on an orange plate

I planned to make these bars and I thought I was good on ingredients with the exception of lemons, so my husband and I stopped at the store and picked up some fresh lemons. I got home and I thought I had lemon curd, or something that I could use in its place. I didn’t have lemon curd, so I checked to see what I could use. I identified four possibilities, yes, I am well stocked! I had apple cinnamon curd, apricot pineapple preserves, lemon marmalade, and ginger curd. My husband thought that ginger curd would be good, and I agreed since I love ginger.

Since I used ginger curd, I decided to use a little less lemon zest to these bars. I didn’t add lemon to the base, and I just used the zest of one lemon in the filling. Perhaps I should have added some ginger to the base, but certainly it needed some salt. I did refrigerate my pastry base, but just for 15 or so minutes. It had firmed up but didn’t become so hard that I couldn’t shape it. In retrospect, I think I could have rolled the pastry base thinner, but I didn’t do that this time.

I will say that the ginger curd isn’t super strong, and I cut back on the lemon, so these bars don’t have a prominent flavor. Normally a Bakewell tart/bars have raspberry filling and this was intended to be a lemon version, so mine is a lemon and ginger version. Despite not having a strong, in your face flavor, these bars are excellent. They’d be easier to slice if the pastry base was thinner, but I can envision all sorts of variations made with different types of curd and preserves!

Lemon Ginger Bakewell Slices
1¼ cups flour
6 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1+ tablespoon water

7 tablespoons butter, room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
¾ cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons lemon/ginger curd
2 tablespoons sliced/flaked almonds

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour and butter and mix on low until the mixture is crumbly. Add the powdered sugar, then stir in the egg yolk. Add water, mixing intermittently on low, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Once the dough is chilled, roll the dough out to slightly larger than 8 inches square (trim as needed). Press the dough into the base of the prepared pan, pressing the dough into the edges and corners of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: in a large mixer bowl bear the butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the ground almonds and flour. Mix until cohesive.

Once the bottom crust comes out of the oven, spread with a thin layer of curd. Top with the almond filling and carefully spread into a smooth layer, doing your best not to disturb the layer of curd. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bars are golden. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Scrummy Lane

Friday, May 10, 2024

Berry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Bar cookie with a pastry base, layer of blueberry/blackberry preserves, topped with a layer of lemon cheesecake. Photographed on a burgundy oblong dish

I had bought a couple of lemons recently and still had one lemon that I wanted to use. It was starting to show its age so I went looking for recipes, hopefully something where I had all of the necessary ingredients. Since I try to keep cream cheese on hand, this helps a lot! I found these lemon cheesecake bars, which were perfect. The original recipe called for strawberry preserves, which I didn’t have, but I figured I could find something.

Our kitchen is stocked with quite a variety of preserves, which I think I have mentioned before. I knew we would have something that would work with lemon. While some of the flavors we had on hand didn’t combine well with lemon, I ended up finding some preserves that were a combination of blueberry and blackberry. Blueberry and lemon are classic together, and the blackberry would be even a little bit better.

These bars take a little bit longer because there are several steps. I made my crust in the mixer, but I could have also used my food processor. That does a better job of making pastry, but the mixer was fine. The mixer bowl was quite clean so I just used that for the filling as well. These bars are excellent with the blueberry/blackberry preserves! The only challenge was cutting the bars when they were very cold, which was nearly impossible! Once I let the bars sit at room temperature for a short time they were much easier to work with!

Berry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup berry preserves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and butter. Mix on low until the mixture is crumbly. (You could also use your food processor for this.) The mixture will be dry. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.  

Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown.

While the crust is baking, make the filling: in a large mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined. Stir in the lemon juice.

Once the crust comes out of the oven, carefully spread the preserves in an even layer over the crust. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the preserves and smooth the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheesecake is set in the center. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before refrigerating for several hours. Bring the bars to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Cookies and Cups