Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies

Today is day one of 3 days off work this week and I’m headed up to a friend’s cottage tomorrow morning.  As every good Dutch girl knows, one must not to one’s friend’s house empty handed!

It’s too hot to bring something chocolatey, and really it’s too hot for anything super rich too… so we kept it simple.  And during the heat of summer, what better flavor than lemon?!  So, I went in search of a lemon sugar cookie recipe online and found this one at Two Peas & Their Pod.  Sounded easy and light so we gave it a shot.  They turned out perfectly!  I did have to improvise a little since I didn’t have fresh lemons in the house, but we made it work and even added a lemony glaze for a little extra summer flavor.

GLAZED LEMON SUGAR COOKIES

Cookie Batter

  • 2 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. sugar (to roll cookies in)

Glaze

  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar
  • lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour and powders and set aside.  Cream butter, sugar and egg.  Add lemon juice and extracts then dry ingredients.

Scoop tablespoons of batter and roll into balls with your hands.  Drop into sugar and coat.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  (Loosen immediately – these want to stick to the pan for some reason.)

Once cookies are cooled, slowly drip lemon juice over powdered sugar until just dissolved.  Mixture should be slightly thick.  Drizzle over cookies with a fork.  After glaze is hardened, store cookies in airtight container.

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Chippy Dippy Bars

An oldie but a goodie… these bars have been around for a long time.  I’m headed up to Michigan this weekend for New Years and wanted to take a plate of baked goods for my hostess so I pulled out my handy-dandy PRCS (Protestant Reformed Christian School) Cookbook and looked these up.

Chippy Dippy Bars have multiple names: Chippy Dippy Squares, Layer Bars, Magic Cookie Squares, Butterscotch Coconut Bars… the list goes on.  Essentially, it’s a graham cracker crumb crust sprinkled with coconut, butterscotch and chocolate chips and then drizzled with a can of sweetened condensed milk.  No mixer required, so the clean-up is easy.

CHIPPY DIPPY BARS

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 c. flaked coconut (shredded is fine)
  • 6 oz. butterscotch chips
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1 c. pecans, chopped (I usually skip this)
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine graham crumbs, butter and sugar in a bowl and toss with fork to combine.  Press into bottom of a greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle coconut, nuts and chips over top.  Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk and bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool completely before cutting.

Best EVER Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Stacie has a blog called Kats Kitchen and she posted a recipe for M&M Cookies 2 or 3 years ago that I’ve been using to make Chocolate Chip Cookies ever since.  Her recipe is an adaptation of Alton Brown’s The Chewy.

BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 c. chocolate chips

Sift flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.

Combine melted butter and sugar in mixing bowl and mix on low until combined.  Add egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla and continue mixing.  Slowly add flour mixture and then chocolate chips.  Chill dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously scoop onto cookie sheets (I usually get about 2 1/2 dozen cookies out of one batch).  And here’s where I learned something new… cookie sheet rotation!

This may be old news to some of you, but cookie sheet rotation makes a huge difference.  I put in the first tray on the top rack, set the timer for 7 minutes, rotate and add a tray to the bottom rack.  Set the timer for 7 minutes, take out the tray on the top rack, rotate the tray on the bottom rack and move to top.  7 more minutes… you get the idea.  Granted, every oven is different, but a total of 14 minutes gives me a perfect cookie in mine – lightly browned on the edges and soft in the middles.  PERFECT.

Chocolate Chip Cookies on the bottom left. Ina's Granola Bars on the top left. Pizza dough on the bottom right. (Recipes for granola bars and pizza dough are elsewhere on my blog.)

Coconut Macaroons

If you read my last post, you’ll see that I made creme brulee yesterday for a dinner party.  As creme brulee only uses the healthiest of ingredients – heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar – I was left with a dozen egg whites.  I am the guiltiest of the guilty when it comes to wasting egg whites – always separate the yolks with the best of intentions and plan to use them, but consistently find them in a fridge a month later and end up throwing them out.

I was in the mood for a little baking this evening and remembered those egg whites.  I’d never made them before but remembered seeing a recipe in my  Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (yes, I wanted the pink one) for Coconut Macaroons.

They’re JD.  Just.  Delicious. 😉

COCONUT MACAROONS

  • 7 oz. bag shredded coconut
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add vanilla, beat again, set aside.  Combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt and fold in egg whites until well combined.  Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let cool and drizzle with melted chocolate.  Store in airtight container.  (Truth be told, I didn’t feel like washing two cookie sheets so I made mine twice as big as you’re supposed to so I could fit them all on one, but they still turned out great.)

Ina’s Granola Bars

Anyone who really knows me knows I love me a little Ina Garten.  The woman is the ultimate food snob and I just love it!  (Don’t use just any old vanilla, use pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla!)  On a random day off I watched her make granola bars and, while it took me 6 months to get around to it, I finally did it about two months ago and haven’t bought a granola bar since.  I’ve learned a few things along the way, and would absolutely recommend that you give these a try.  AWESOME!

Ina’s original recipe can be found here.  If you couple it with a few tips and tricks I’ve figured out (see below), your granola bar success is 100% guaranteed.

Also, try mixing your dried fruits.  As long as it adds up to 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit you’re golden.  I tried combining dried apricot, dried pineapple and dried mango a couple weeks ago and it might be my favorite combo so far.  Have fun!

INA’S GRANOLA BARS

  • 2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c. almonds
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c. wheat germ
  • 3 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 c. dried chopped dates
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put almonds and 1 c. oatmeal into the blender and pulse until the nuts are broken down pretty well.  Spread onto a cookie sheet with remaining oatmeal, coconut and wheat germ and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until coconut has started to brown.  Remove tray and reduce oven temp to 300 degrees.  (Why, you ask?  Honey burns at a higher temp!  If you’re baking something with honey in it, reduce your oven temp and cook longer – I guarantee that whatever you make will taste better.)

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring honey, butter, vanilla and brown sugar to a rolling boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add toasted mixture and dried fruit to a large mixing bowl and pour honey over top.  Mix VERY well.  With wet hands, press into a foil-lined 7×11 pan and bake in that 300 degree (reduced temp) oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are very slightly browned.

Now, as tempting as it may be to want to cut into that pan, BACK AWAY SLOWLY!  Let those bars sit and cool for about 2 hours before cutting into 16 pieces. Try it too early, and they’ll completely fall apart on you and all that work will have been for naught.

For those of you watching what you’re eating, here’s the nutritional info on these babies (compliments of my Lose It iPhone app):

  • Calories:  233
  • Fat:  8.4g (2.9g saturated)
  • Cholesterol:  5.7mg
  • Sodium:  28.7mg
  • Carbs: 39.6g
  • Fiber:  3.9g
  • Sugars:  23.2g
  • Protein:  4.8

One more little tidbit:  These are great post-work out bars because they’re relatively low in protein.  The experts (by the way, I am not one) say that consuming foods with both sugary carbs and protein post-work out actually slows down how quickly your body metabolizes sugar because the protein acts like a blocker.  The carbs and sugar get your blood sugars back up and there’s not much protein to get in the way.  Nice, huh? 🙂

Healthy… Cookies?

Yup, that’s right… I made “healthy” cookies.  Who knew such a thing existed?!  I was sitting on the couch watching TV and working on the computer and suddenly wanted a cookie, but didn’t want to blow a whole bunch of “bad” calories on my craving.  Food.com came through with a Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and it’s actually good.  Definitely wouldn’t take care of a chocolate chip cookie fix, but I liked them just fine and they do fulfill my sweets craving. 🙂

HEALTHY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. oats (instant worked fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 T. molasses or dark Karo syrup
  • 1 egg + 1 T. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. raisins

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Whisk wet ingredients together and fold in dry ingredients.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 335 degrees.  Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake for 10 -15 minutes.

I made bigger cookies (got 15 out of the recipe) and each one has about 175 calories.  Take 15×175 and you get 2,625 calories in the recipe.  If you make smaller cookies, divide 2,625 by how many cookies you get out of your recipe and that’s your number of calories per cookie.

While the calorie count may be a little high still, keep in mind that you’re using a monounsaturated fat (olive oil) instead of a polyunsaturated fat (vegetable oil) and since there is no white sugar or flour, you’re also only consuming complex carbs (unprocessed and ultimately, healthier, since processing removes vitamins and minerals).

Let me know what you think.  Enjoy!!! 🙂

Snickers Surprises

I’m intent on using my new VanderCookBook and have been trying new recipes.  This past weekend I wanted to try the Snickers Surprises by Sally Lange and they were a big hit at our house.  I’ve never made them before, and while they did require a little extra time, I believe that the family found them well-worth the effort.

SNICKERS SURPRISES

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1  bag Snickers miniatures
  • milk chocolate melting chocolate (opt.)

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add dry ingredients.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Scoop a golf-ball size ball of dough into your palm and push a Snickers miniature into the ball.  Wrap dough around candy and roll between palms.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.

Allow to cool and then drizzle with melted chocolate.  (I left this step out and they were still really good.)

DISCLAIMER: This is the recipe as it appears in the cookbook.  I think you could easily go through 2 or 3 bags of Snickers miniatures with this.  I had so much dough left after the one bag of miniatures that I put the mixing bowl back on the mixer, added a few tablespoons of milk (the batter was too thick for chocolate chip cookies) and 2 c. of chocolate chips and make about 3-4 dozen peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (which were also good, by the way).