Crispy Ginger Snaps

There’s nothing like a quiet weekend morning when all in the house are still asleep.  I so enjoy tiptoeing through the kitchen to watch  the sun come up while sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee.  I use this time to plan weekly meals and search my “kitchen file” for clipped recipes from years past that I’ve been wanting to try again.  This “kitchen file” holds recipes from my college days, the early years of marriage, the harried years of raising young children, and the middle aged years of managing a busy work schedule.  My recipe interests seem to morph depending on my stage of life.  During my college years, my favorite recipes were quick and inexpensive.  During the early ears of marriage, my favorite recipes showcased new and interesting ingredients.  While raising my young children, as I had three children within one year, it was mandatory that my recipes be quick and easy!  Now, in my middle aged years, I’m all about prepping for a week’s worth of meals so I don’t have to fuss too much after a long day of work.

I think you’ll enjoy this recipe as my family seems to grab these cookies for any occasion.  An “on the go” breakfast with a cup of tea, an afternoon snack, or a quick evening dessert…   Delicious!

This is the version I make most often but I have also posted a link for a low sugar version that is delicious as well.

 

Crispy Ginger Snaps

 

1 cup oat bran flour

1 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1/4 cup turbinando sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat bran,flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the margarine, butter, and brown sugar and coconut sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Next, add the molasses and egg, beat until fully combined.  Add the flour/oat bran mixture to the wet ingredients; mix until combined.

In a small bowl, pour in the turbinado sugar.  Roll the dough into 1″ balls, then roll in the sugar. Place on a baking sheet roughly 2″ apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Slightly cool before removing from baking sheets to cool completely.

For a healthier version of this recipe try this website…

http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/12/11/soft-baked-ginger-cookies/

 

 

Peanut Butter Bites

For those of you trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar and processed white flour in your diet, this is a doozy of a cookie.  I stumbled on a version of this recipe several years ago when the only readily available sugar substitute on the market was Splenda.  Since then, the options are abundant when choosing sweeteners to add to baked goods.  For this particular recipe, I use a mixture of unrefined coconut sugar and a brown sugar substitute blend to sweeten the batter. The result, an absolutely delicious cookie that everyone is sure to enjoy. Tuck them away in a safe place after they’ve cooled or they’ll be gone in no time at all!



Peanut Butter Bites

1 16 oz. jar natural crunchy peanut butter (no sugar added)

1/4 cup unrefined coconut sugar (readily available in grocery stores)

1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray two cookie sheets w/ cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweeteners, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.  With a small round ice cream scoop, press the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2″ apart on the cookie sheet.

With a tines of a fork, flatten the cookies in a criss-cross pattern. Bake 9-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown.  Wait a few minutes before removing from tray to cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container.

(Note: If you prefer a sweeter cookie, double the coconut sugar and brown sugar blend to equal 1/2 cup each.)



Oreo Ice Cream Cake

  
This weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting my sister and her family for the July 4th holiday. One of the activities that we enjoy most is remaking recipes that have become a tradition in our family. This no-bake cake is a winner. The July 4th weather is usually warm and breezy so the ice cream cake is a refreshing treat after a long day of grilling, baseball, and fireworks. Just pop the finished cake into the freezer at the start of the day and it will be waiting for you when you want to sit down and enjoy time with family and friends. What a great, no fuss, dessert!

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

1 package (20 oz.) Oreo cookies

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

1 package (8 oz.) Cool Whip (thawed)

1 jar (16 oz.) hershey’s hot fudge or chocolate syrup

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup mini Reese’s peanut butter cups or your favorite chocolate candy, optional

Lightly spray, with cooking spray, a 9×13″ pan. Crush cookies in the food processor or put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Add melted butter and mix thoroughly. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Carefully spread the softened ice cream over the cookies. Evenly layer on the Cool Whip. Warm the fudge or chocolate until pourable in the microwave and drizzle over the Cool Whip. Sprinkle nuts over the entire cake. (Add the mini candies, optional.) Freeze for at least two hours or until firm. Enjoy!

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies



In my house, we often thank others with a small token of appreciation by sending along a special treat from the kitchen.  This week my daughter M whipped up this simple, yet scrumptious treat for a co-worker that had kindly obliged a special request from my husband.  This particular co-worker has a side business creating personalized signs.  My husband had placed a special order with the company but on completion of the project, the gentlemen would accept no payment for his handiwork.  Arriving home from work, my husband asked M to bake something delicious to thank the man for taking the time to finish the project at no charge.  M quickly rifled through a selection of recipes from our “go-to” cookbook.  She settled on a recipe for what seemed to be a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Her recipe is adapted from the original found in our Allrecipes Cookbook.  I’ve had the book for years and I just love the wonderful collection of recipes that sit between the well worn covers.

If you’re so inclined, look up the original recipe online.  Here’s the web link…  http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/25037/best-big-fat-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookie/

M carefully followed the recipe with a few exceptions.  (Adding chopped nuts or dried fruit can kick things up a bit.) To our delight, the cookies turned out beautifully, chocked with lots of chocolate morsels and crisp around the edges.  We will definitely make this recipe again.

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

 2 cups flour (can substitute 1 cup flour + 1 cup oat bran)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup margarine, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough with an ice cream scoop, one at a time, onto prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.



Here’s the thank you note sent a few days later…



Devilishly Delicious Brownies

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I must admit, I often use a boxed mix when baking brownies. While it seems relatively easy to open a box and pop in a few ingredients, the result is never quite as delicious as the “made from scratch” product. This brownie recipe is quite easy as it combines a few simple ingredients and is truly delicious. The four, lightly beaten eggs help create a cake-like texture with a moist, fudgy interior. The chocolate chips are a wonderful (partially melted) surprise. So, if you’re looking for a quick fix as you move through the stressful holiday season, this recipe just might fit the bill. I must caution you though, these babies are devilishly delicious!

Devilishly Delicious Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13X9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix well. In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together. Combine flour mixture and the egg mixture; mix just until batter is combined. Stir in chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Holiday Cutouts

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As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I’m all about sending goodies to my college kids living on campus. Receiving a thoughtful care package from home is always a welcome surprise for students. Last week, while I was visiting campus, I dropped off decorative trays of Holiday Cutouts to each of my children. I’m told they were a big hit as M shared her tray with her Resident Assistant, roommate and a few of her friends from home. K and P shared their cookies as well. M confessed that she couldn’t imagine eating too many of the cookies without putting on a few pounds so, “out of site, out of mind”, was her motto when passing off the tasty treats to friends and floor mates.
This cookie is quick and easy to assemble as the recipe doesn’t call for the traditional wait time for refrigeration when making the stiff rolled dough. Use your favorite cookie cutters to represent holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions. After a quick cool down, top with icing and colorful sprinkles. Pack in airtight containers or transfer to a platter for a friendly holiday tray. (I found a few Halloween buckets at a local discount store so I packed a few cookies in with a bit of tissue paper.)
Kids, no matter what their age, always enjoy a flavorful treat for the holidays.

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Holiday Cutouts

1 cup butter, softened ( 2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract; mix until well blended. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine well. Form the dough in to a smooth ball. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4″ thick. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-8 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Decorate as desired when cool.

Valentine Shortbread Cookies

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Every year, when the swim season is at its peak and our swimmers are getting ready for the big championship meets, the girl’s team picks a secret buddy to surprise with a week’s worth of little gifts.
This week, M and I scoured the shelves of the local discount stores to find little trinkets and goodies to pack into colorful bags, each marked with an inspirational swimming quote. In the early morning hours, the girls sneak into the pool locker room and place the goodie bag in front of their “buddy’s” locker. It’s all in good fun and a welcome release from the daily grind of swimming yard after yard in the pool, during the long winter months. Yesterday, M surprised her “buddy” with a beautiful container full of Valentine Shortbread Cookies and a few other little trinkets.
These cookies are kind of over the top in the “sweets department”. The recipe includes lots of creamy butter and a load of sugar. Certainly not something you’d want to munch on everyday. But for this special occasion, and for the upcoming Valentines Day holiday, maybe this is the cookie you’d like to make and share with your sweetheart!

Valentine Shortbread Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups flour
1/4 cup Wilton sprinkles + extra for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Carefully add flour and mix well. Gently fold sprinkles into batter. Using a small ice cream scoop, form cookies and place on baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or with slightly damp fingers. Lightly pat remaining sprinkles into top of cookies. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze when cooled.

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