Thursday, October 28, 2010


Is there really a more fun cookie name?  It's just the best.  And it's absolutely one of my must-have holiday cookies.  I'm not sure why, but that cinnamony flavor reminds me of winter, and the best part about winter is the holidays (and the cookies).

I found this recipe in the Penzey's Spices catalog several years ago.  I love Penzey's spices.  The quality is great, the prices are very good, and the flavors are amazing.  Plus, they have wonderful recipes showcasing various spices and how to incorporate new flavors into your meals in each of their catalogs and on their website.   I made very minor changes to how I combine the ingredients, and they are perfect every time.


3 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Combine flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.  Cream butter, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla, beating slowly after each addition, then beating well and scraping the bowl occasionally.  Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined.  Scrape the bowl to ensure all the flour is incorporated. 

This is a soft dough, so you may want to refrigerate it to make it easier to work with, but it's not necessary.  Because I often am making two (or more) recipes simultaneously, I have chilled it for 30 minutes to an hour and it's fine.  But I've also started baking it right away and still have been successful.  If you're making these is a warmer climate, it would probably be a good idea to chill the dough for a short time.

Form the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place on an ungreased or parchment/silicone lined cookie sheet.  Flatten with the bottom of a glass.

The flattening part is important.  Once I accidentally popped my cookie sheets it the oven without flattening (I simply forgot that step in my haste to get the sheets in the oven) and got Snickerballs.  The dough doesn't spread that much and while the Snickerballs were tasty, the texture was off.  I also have found that I prefer a certain type of glass.  I had been using a regular drinking glass, but though the cookies were getting too flat, and then too crispy in the oven.  So last year I switched to a standard shot glass, like this:

I forgot to take my own picture, so I borrowed this one

But I noticed that if I pressed too hard, I got the ring from the bottom of the glass as well as the imprint of "Made in the USA" on my cookies.  While this mostly baked out when the cookies puffed a bit, I wanted something different.  This year I spotted the perfect tool in the cabinet. 

It's called an over-under glass, and no, I didn't steal it.  Dave and I got them when we ordered from a certain shot menu at Dave & Buster's.  We haven't actually used them to make said shots at home, but they really are the perfect tool for flattening cookies!

Bake for 12 minutes, or until edges start to crack and turn lightly golden.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then move to complete cooling on rack.

Makes 7 1/2 dozen.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry

These are a cookie staple for me.  A few years ago, my Dad was telling me about a cookie he had tried and loved.  And then he asked me if I could make them.  After some careful searching, I located an Oatmeal Cranberry recipe from the Food Network, submitted by Beth Setrakian.  I haven't done anything to change it. The recipe is always good, comes out consistent and delicious.  The difference between the cranberries and regular raisins in the oatmeal cookie is a sweetness that just lingers in your mouth.  I've also used chopped dried apricots in this recipe, which were delicious, but the sweetness factor was dialed down a bit.  The texture is nice and soft, but there is still a nice, crunchy edge.

Oatmeal Cranberry

1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  In batches, add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, stirring well to incorporate.  Add dried cranberries.

On a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, drop by spoonfuls (I use a small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart.

Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then move to complete cooling on rack.

 Makes 6 dozen.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apple & Oatmeal

Fall in New England means lots of apples and I've been trying to find various recipes to use up some apples that just aren't that great for everyday eating.  But they are great for baking.  I'd made another apple cookie last month and it was missing something.  I decided what it needed was oatmeal.  So I looked for a good recipe and then found some great apples at the orchard--Yellow Newtown Pippens. I'd never had or heard of them before, but they are a tart-to-sour apple perfect for baking.

I got this recipe from one of my favorite recipe swapping websites,  It's a social network for cooks, and I've gotten a ton of yummy recipes from the generous cooks who share their recipes (I share too--if you head over, look me up under cookieprincess).  This recipe was posted by Kitchen Chatter as Oatmeal Apple Cookies and she lists her source as Pat Duran.

I have made some changes to this recipe, and if I were to make it again I would make other changes.  The cookies were good, but Dave and I thought the cranberries didn't really do anything for the cookie.  So I would leave them out next time and add more apple to really feature this as an apple flavored cookie.

Apple & Oatmeal

3/4 cup shortening (or butter or margarine)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup peeled, diced apples (tart apples work best)
3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I did not use in this recipe)
3 cups quick cooking oats (not instant or old fashioned)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F for a dark, non-stick pan.  Cream together shortening and sugar. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla, scraping sides of bowl when necessary; mix until well blended.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.  Mix thoroughly into creamed mixture.  Stir in fruit and nuts (if using).  Stir in oats (In the future, I would add the oats to my flour mixture and combining at the same time). 

On a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, drop by spoonfuls (I use a small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart.  If you don't have parchment or a silicone baking mat, grease your cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then move to complete cooling on rack.

Makes 6 dozen.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Printer Friendly Recipe

Friday, October 22, 2010

Coming Soon

I've already made some yummy recipes, so I'll soon be sharing:
I also have a few new ones to make this weekend, including:
Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cherry Cordials

Cherry Cordial Cookies

You've been so patient waiting for my first recipe, so I'm going to give you a good one.  A new one that I sort of made up all by myself!  I first test drove these for a friend's BBQ in July and they were a big hit.  At the time Betty Crocker was accepting submissions for their Mix it Up with Betty cookie recipe contest.  I submitted this, but did not make the cut this year.  While I would never advocate using a packaged mix and calling it homemade, I would encourage you to use the mixes as a base to come up with something amazing.  That's what I love about that contest and I've found many a good cookie recipes from it.

This recipe started out as Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies, but I switched from Jell-O brand gelatin to the store brand gelatin (for no reason other than price) and Dave just about lost it at the difference in flavor.  His exact words were, " Oh my God that's exactly the same flavor as a Cherry Cordial chocolate candy."  Thus the name change.  He did suggest, however, to try it with milk chocolate chips next time around, instead of semi-sweet, for an even closer similarity.

Updated 11/9/10: Check out the revised version of this recipe here!

I do suggest using the sugar-free gelatin, because you only want the cherry flavor, not any additional sweetness.

Cherry Cordial Cookies

1 package Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 package sugar free cherry gelatin
1 stick of butter, softened (not melted)
1 egg
1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for a dark pan (add 25 degrees for a light pan).  In a medium bowl combine sugar cookie mix and cherry gelatin mix.  Add butter and egg.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients as much as possible before mixing with a wooden spoon.  If your butter isn't soft enough, you may need to add a splash of milk, but just keep working the dough until everything is incorporated.  Add chocolate chips and mix through.

On a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, drop by spoonfuls (I use a small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 minutes.  (If you bake two sheets at time, rotate the sheets 180 degrees AND switch racks halfway through for more even baking.)  Remove from oven and cool on sheets for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting Organized

When people find out I make roughly eleventy billion cookies, I usually get one of two reactions, sometimes both from the same person.

"You do what now?" and/or "How, exactly?"

As with any big project, organization is key.  And the fact that I'm a little crazy when it comes to organization definitely helps.  I'm the girl who got a label maker for Christmas and thought it was awesome.  The girl who has color-coded file folders (that match the purple and green file cabinets where they are contained).  The girl who used to rewrite her notes from classes so that they would flow better for studying than they did in the lecture.  And the girl who just recently reorganized all her printed and loose recipes to create three binders containing very specific recipe types, organized and separated by dividers (but I stopped short of actually alphabetizing the recipes, because I never remember their actual names).

So organization is the first step to preparedness.  I do this in a few ways.  First, while there's always reasons to have cookies, you don't want to start baking massive quantities of cookies without first thinking of your audience.  How many you make should be dictated by the number of people your sharing with and the process by which you will share.  Do you go to a lot of holiday parties and want to take trays of cookies to each one?  Do you want to give a bag of cookies to everyone you work with?  Do you have 3 kids at 3 different schools and 3 different bake sales?  In these times of financial uncertainty, maybe you want to scrap the purchased Christmas gifts this year and give everyone a homemade gift of yummy cookies (stay tuned for more on that).  Make a list of all the possible people you want to give cookies to/make cookies for, from family to friends to teachers to coworkers to your hair stylist and more.

Now, decide if everyone is getting the same amount of cookies.  I do tailor the size of my cookie gifts, based on several factors.  When I know the cookies will be shared at a party or holiday gathering, I make the gift a little bigger.  Or if I give to a coworker who has a family at home, there may be a few extra gingerbread men or sugar cookies for the little ones.  A friend who looks forward to my cookies but is also conscious of her weight gets a smaller tin (and is appreciative!) because she wants to indulge, but not gorge herself.  Some of these things won't be evident the first time around, and I still don't have the perfect number for my needs, since my list of recipients changes from year to year.  But cookies aren't a one size fits all gift, so try to keep that in the back of your mind.

The next step is deciding on your cookie recipes.  It's never a bad idea to start with recipes you know and are comfortable with.  It takes some of the stress out. This is not a project for people who don't love to bake, so stress isn't an option.  Make it fun.  Use the recipes your family likes or try the ones you're comfortable with.  Have I made complete failures? Yes.  Have I given them as gifts?  Most of them.  Did I stress about it? No.  I just made notes on the recipe to try again next year.  Or threw out the recipe.

This isn't even all of it.

The next part of preparation will be organizing your resources.  This means figuring out exactly how much flour, sugar, butter, etc., you're going to need.  And this is why I think starting early (I started my list in July this year) is key.  Once you know what you need, you can start keeping an eye out for sales and coupons to start stocking your pantry.  Generally speaking, baking should be inexpensive, but if you're going for large quantities, the cheap stuff adds up.  By planning early, I scored 30 pounds of flour for $6 (normally $18 at this grocery store) by purchasing it in August.  Just make sure you have a cool place to keep it.  Similarly, I scored several bags of candy (Reese cups, Hershey Kisses, M&Ms) at big discounts by getting them over the summer when chocolate doesn't move as quickly off store shelves.  And don't forget that butter freezes just fine, so pick up a few pounds when it's cheap.  And if you're not a member of a big box club store, do a little reconnaissance and if the prices are good, ask the service desk for a free one day shopping pass to take advantage and stock up on your baking needs.

I'll continue to address some of these issues as we go along. (And yes I will explain the packages of Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes, too. They are not the devil, as originally suspected.)  But let me know if you have questions on getting started.  Leave me a comment--I want to hear from you.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mmm, Cookies

I have a problem.

I love cookies.  I love eating them, but I especially love making them.  And over the past 9 years I've made cookies for the holidays as gifts for family and friends.  And I can't stop making more and more cookies every year.  It started with 4 basic recipes and has since exploded into a rotating catalog of classic and modern cookies, recently as many as 24 recipes in a single holiday season.

How many cookies is 24 recipes, you ask?  In 2008 it was over 1800.

That's a lot of milk.

I'm so obsessed, my wedding featured 16 feet of beautifully trayed cookies in over a dozen flavors, more than 1,000 yummy bits of goodness.

In an effort to share my joy and offer up some advice, I give you this blog.  Here I will explain the planning process behind making almost two thousand cookies, my favorite products, tips and tricks, and of course, my favorite recipes.  To be fair, few (very, very few) of my best cookies recipes are of my own design.  Nearly all of them are culled from magazines, cookbooks, newspapers, ingredient packaging, and of course,the almighty interwebz.  But most of those have been "improved" by my unique changes either in content or process so I can make only the best cookies for my loved ones.

I promise it's not all chocolate chip around here (although I recently acquired a recipe so close to the renowned Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookie that you might never go back to grandma's recipe).  Unique flavors, simple substitutions, and a equal balance of chocolate vs. everything else is in store.

Submit your cookie quandaries in the comments section!  I'll be your resident expert on all things cookie, and for those of you who get to consume my creations,enjoy.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess