Friday, October 15, 2021

Hermit Bars

Photo of Hermit Bars with Powdered Sugar Drizzle

I go into work a couple of days per week now, which makes the idea of “Cookies on Friday” a bit of a challenge. Now it’s cookies on whatever day I am organized enough to bring them! That seems to work out ok as different people work different days, so I try to tailor recipes on who may be at work. Some of my friends can’t have gluten, and others can’t have dairy. I made these cookies dairy free, and next time I will find a gluten free recipe to try.

The original recipe I had planned to make would have been easy to convert to dairy free, but then I realized they contained toffee chips and I don’t know how you could make those without dairy! I swapped to this recipe which required I used margarine/vegan butter and then a substitute liquid for the icing. Since it was fairly late in the evening, I looked at what I had on hand and used apple cider for the icing. I figured that would taste great with these spiced cookies.

I hadn’t realized that hermits are very similar to biscotti, but you only bake them once. My two logs of dough did expand and almost come together, so about 12 minutes in I used a metal spatula to encourage them to stay apart. These cookies certainly make your house smell like fall, with the molasses and spices. They are quick to make, and I was able to work on other projects while they chilled. My cookies ended up quite large, so the only change I would make in the future is to shape the dough into three logs instead of two and use an additional baking sheet.

Hermit Bars

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegan butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2/3 cup raisins

1 cup powdered sugar
5–6 teaspoons apple cider

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the vegan butter and brown sugar and mix on medium until light. Add the molasses and egg and mix again on medium to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until almost incorporated. Stir in the raisins with a spatula.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a log approximately 12 inches long and about 3/4 inch tall. Place side by side on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between the logs. Square off the logs slightly so that they are rectangular.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the logs start to brown along the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, move the cookie logs to a wire rack. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and apple cider until it is the correct drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cookie logs while still warm, using a crosshatch pattern. Allow the drizzle to set before cutting into bars. I cut each log in half lengthwise, then cut into bars.

Recipe from New England Today: Food

Friday, October 8, 2021

Cinnamon Hazelnut Cookies

Cinnamon Hazelnut Cookies

A while ago, when my husband and I were exploring a different grocery store, we came across a package of cinnamon hazelnuts. I love hazelnuts and adding some cinnamon would just make them better. I figured that I would be able to find some sort of cookie to make that uses cinnamon hazelnuts, so we picked them up. I started looking for a good recipe, and I settled on this fairly simple hazelnut cookie.

This cookie was noted as a Christmas cookie, but I think it is quite universal. I used cinnamon sugar rather than festive sprinkles, and that’s really the only thing that would point to this being for Christmas. Change up the sprinkles and it would fit any different holiday. I decided to use my cinnamon hazelnuts and I added a small amount of cinnamon to the dough to accentuate that flavor.

This dough takes about 5 minutes to make. I had forgotten to make the dough, so I quickly put it together one night about 9 pm (which is super late for this early riser). I ground the whole cinnamon hazelnuts in a food processor so that takes about 30 seconds, although it is 30 seconds that the cats hate me. I refrigerated the dough overnight and the next day they were ready, although still a bit pliable. The cinnamon sugar does get a little melted while baking, but there isn’t too much of it. These cookies are lovely, not super sweet, but with great buttery flavor.

Cinnamon Hazelnut Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup ground cinnamon hazelnuts
Cinnamon sugar
1 egg, beaten

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg, and salt on medium until well combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the ground hazelnuts and stir until combined.

Shape the dough into a log about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Unwrap the dough and brush with beaten egg. Press cinnamon sugar over the dough log. Slice the dough log into ¼” slices. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from Kitchen Geisha via Allrecipes

Friday, October 1, 2021

Coffee Cookie Bars

Coffee Cookie Bars topped with Sweetened Condensed Milk Topping

I go through phases with my baking. Sometimes it seems like I make nothing but bar cookies. Other times I look through my posts and I realize that I haven’t made bar cookies in forever. I wanted to change that this week, also with the hopes that I would be able to take the cookies into work to share. Due to my disorganization, that didn’t happen, but in the end, it allowed me to taste the cookies at different points in time, which was helpful.

These cookies are interesting, in that the topping is made of primarily sweetened condensed milk. It seems like you have a lot of milk but when you pour it on the bars it is the thinnest of layers. It bubbles while it is in the oven and it retains that bubbly look, although that is less obvious once the bars are cut. At first, I thought that I had baked the base too long, but after 24 hours I am not so sure.

You make a fairly standard base, with some espresso powder, and bake that for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the cookies didn’t look done, but I think I should not have worried about that. I put them in for another few minutes, which resulted in a very crunchy cookie. I thought I should have left it as is, but then after I cut the cookies and they sat overnight, the base softened somewhat. I do prefer them less crunchy, but that’s me. The topping becomes something like a frosting when you eat them, which is lovely. I can barely taste coffee, as I didn’t use very much, but you could certainly add more coffee if you are making them for a coffee lover.

Coffee Cookie Bars

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons espresso powder

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Salt, for finishing

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

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until combined. Add the flour, chocolate chips, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and espresso powder and mix on low until the dough comes together.
Press the mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. While the bars are baking, make the topping.

In a small saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the butter. Heat on low, stirring frequently, until smooth. Make sure that the mixture doesn’t burn. Just before the bars come out of the oven, remove the sweetened condensed milk mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Once the bars look set, remove from the oven, and pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the bars, ensuring that the mixture covers evenly.

Bake for an additional 10 minutes. When you remove the bars from the oven, the topping will be bubbling. Sprinkle the pan with salt. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Kroll’s Korner

Friday, September 24, 2021

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

For the first time in about a year and a half, I have an in-person meeting at work. We are about to open, although with limited hours, and I am sure that there will be a lot of adjustments that need to be made. We always meet before we open, as things change from year to year. In order to bake for all my work friends, I went looking for dairy and gluten free recipes. While I was assured that I didn’t need to bother, I love trying to find just the right recipe.

I have vegan butter, so that makes it easy to substitute for dairy in recipes, and I have dairy free chocolate chips, but I do have to avoid recipes with condensed milk, cream cheese, and those sorts of ingredients. Avoiding gluten takes more thought, but I do have gluten free flour mixture. There are also cookies that simply don’t contain flour, like these cookies. These use oats, which I learned can be processed in plants that process gluten, so you should be careful.

With all of the right ingredients on hand, these were quick to put together. The dough is quite sticky, but that’s to be expected with no added flour. These cookies are on the oily side, but it’s just good to know that. Since I baked one batch at a time, I refrigerated one batch while the other was baking. I think that the refrigerated cookies turned out a little better, even though they were only in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. These cookies are soft, but that is expected in a flourless cookie. The flavor of peanut butter and chocolate is amazing, and the oats add a little bit of needed structure.

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup chocolate chips, dairy free
Salt, for finishing

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

In a large mixer bowl, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla on medium until smooth. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the oats and baking soda. Stir in the chocolate chips.    

Scoop onto the prepared baking sheet and slightly flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the edges of the cookies begin to brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle the cooling cookies with additional salt.

Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Friday, September 17, 2021

Purple Blueberry Cookies

Purple Blueberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

A week or so ago, when my husband and I were trying to plan what to do on the weekend, we decided that we would visit the local farmers market and get some apples for a pie that we planned to make. We had a great time, and it is interesting to see how produce is converting from summer specialties to items that make me think of fall. We got the apples we needed, and since I grew up with blueberry bushes in our back yard, I also got some blueberries. Thankfully they freeze very well.

In trying to figure out how to use the berries, I looked at recipes that I had already saved. I admit that none of them were very unique. My husband found some different recipes, including this one. I have to say I have never made purple cookies, and the point of these cookies is that you do bash the blueberries so that they release their juices and turn everything purple. It’s a very different approach than what I am used to!

One thing to note for these cookies is the chilling time. The original blog shows what the cookies look like if they are or aren’t chilled, and chilling the dough makes a big difference. The look more purple when chilled, and that’s the whole point here! These cookies are so good! You expect a cookie with fruit to be softer, but they have a nice crunch. They aren’t as sweet as you might think, so the white chocolate chips are the perfect addition!

Purple Blueberry Cookies
2/3 cup frozen blueberries, defrosted but not drained
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
Additional sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light. Add the thawed blueberries and juices and mix on medium to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the white chocolate chips with a spatula. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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

Scoop the cookie dough into small balls and roll the balls in the sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden but not browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Fresh Flavorful

Friday, September 10, 2021

Raisin Spice Cookies

Raisin Spice Cookies

A while ago, I was chatting with my friend about raisins. Raisins are a key ingredient in a lot of British baking, especially in the Christmas cake and related items. As we like to buy new ingredients each year, that has left us with a plethora of raisins. We have regular raisins, petite raisins, sultanas, Hunza raisins currents, as well as a raisin medley. It’s a bit ridiculous looking at how many choices there are, just in my cupboard! For this recipe, I used petite raisins as they are a nice size for baking.

I find that raisins are often dry, but you can steep them to plump them up. This is a good step to take, and you’ll always have softer raisins. You can steep them in hot water, but I usually use an alcohol that will complement the recipe. In this case, I used cinnamon whiskey, as the dough also contained cinnamon and other spices. You can steep the raisins for a short while, but I let mine steep overnight, as it enhances the flavor and gives you some extra time. Don’t worry, the alcohol dissipates while the cookies bake, so you can’t taste alcohol at all.

When I was typing up this recipe, I noticed that it said you could refrigerate the dough before baking, for better results. Well, I didn’t see that and baked them as soon as the dough was ready, and they turned out fine. The raisins are soft and lovely, and the cookies have a great spice flavor. When you eat them, it seems like there is oatmeal in these cookies, but there isn’t. These cookies remind me of favorites from the past, and I may try taking this dough and adding white chocolate and cranberries, trying to recreate that favorite I had years ago.

Raisin Spice Cookies
3/4 cup raisins
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, steep the raisins in hot water or alcohol. Cover the bowl and allow the raisins to plump for at least an hour. Drain the raisins thoroughly before using.

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on medium to incorporate.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. When the flour is barely incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer and add the raisins. Mix the raisins into the dough with a spatula.

Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using about 1-1/2 tablespoons per cookie.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookies begin to brown, and they do not look doughy. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Rock Recipes

Friday, September 3, 2021

Apple Cinnamon Syrup Cookies

Apple Cinnamon Syrup Cookies

I’m calling it: it’s fall in my book so I will likely be making all of those great fall recipes that I have been collecting. One flavor of fall is maple, which I love but you do have to be careful that it isn’t too sweet. This recipe originally called for maple syrup- the real stuff not what you put on pancakes. I love Mrs. Butterworth’s but that isn’t the right ingredient to use here.

I had maple syrup, but I also had apple cinnamon syrup that my friend gave me. I looked at the ingredients, and they looked usable: apple juice, cinnamon, and (ok) sugar. I decided that I would substitute the apple syrup for the maple syrup and hoped that the cookies wouldn’t get too melted along the edges. That did happen to a couple of cookies, but not too bad.

I didn’t quite have the quantity of syrup I needed, so I ended up making 40% of the original recipe. That wasn’t too hard, and I ended up making 25 cookies. They come together quickly, but with the apple cinnamon syrup they don’t keep the impression of the fork times all that well. I imagine that is because of the added sugar in the syrup, but it may have been the same had I used maple syrup. The cookies are really interesting- if you know they have apple cinnamon syrup, you taste that. If you don’t know, then you are left thinking “What is in these?” Either way, they are very tasty.

Apple Cinnamon Syrup Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup apple cinnamon (or maple) syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

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

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the syrup, egg, and vanilla and mix on medium to incorporate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Do not over mix.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and roll in sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the tines of a fork.

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

Recipe from Craig Gund via All Recipes