Pecan Sandies

Hello from Florida!  After overnights earlier in the week in Richmond and Savannah, I’m now settling into life in the Florida panhandle, minus all of my belongings, which I should hopefully be reunited with next week.  Until then I’m sleeping on the floor, dining on paper plates, and trying not to make a mess since my vacuum is on the moving truck.  Oh, the joys of moving long distance.

Since my kitchen is currently void of any baking sheets or mixing bowls, I did a little planning ahead last week — I baked a batch of pecan sandies.  I think my move to the South is the perfect time to share a recipe with pecans, right?

Speaking of pecans, everyone should eat pralines at least once in their lifetime.  I just tasted them in Savannah the other day for the first time, so good!  It’s probably good for my health that Savannah is a few hours away from me.  Anyway…

I’ve never made pecan sandies before, but I remember eating Keebler pecan sandies growing up, and my mom tells me my grandma used to love pecan sandies, so I feel like they’re a cookie I should start baking more often.  Especially now that I’m a girl in the South.

This particular recipe uses part butter/part Chobani Greek yogurt (because really, what don’t I make with Chobani?), but you could certainly use all butter if you’d like a more rich cookie.  Just don’t skimp on the pecans, and roast them if you can — it gives the cookies so much depth!

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Orange Cooler Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I seem to change my opinion quite frequently when it comes to favorite fruits.  I blame the seasons — summer is all about berries and melon, in the fall apples and pears are my favorite fruits ever, and in the winter months, it’s all about citrus.  Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, and don’t forget those little clementines.

This year I’ve really embraced citrus season (I suppose living in Florida will do that to a person!)… particularly, oranges.  And even though oranges are just about perfect in their natural state, I couldn’t help but bring their fresh and zesty flavor into these tiny orange cooler cookies.

If you’ve ever had a lemon cooler cookie, these are basically lemon cooler cookies, with orange instead of lemon.  Duh, I know.

I’ve made orange flavored cookies before (here ), but I think these little gems are my favorite orange cookie to date.   They are really simple — not only from a preparation perspective but also ingredient wise — which allows the flavor of the orange to shine.

By adding two whole tablespoons of cornstarch, these cookies basically melt in your mouth because of how soft the cornstarch allows them to be.

When it comes to coating your cookies with the powdered sugar after they bake, the trick is to allow the cookies to cool enough that they won’t completely absorb the powdered sugar — you want the sugar to sort of “hang” on the cookie.  For me, this meant about 10 minutes.  My advice is to start with just a few, see if they’re cool enough, and go from there.

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{Scoooop} Mini Vanilla Ice Cream Cookie Cups

Quick!  Think of your favorite sports teams.  Now think of your favorite players.  They’re pretty darn awesome, right?  I think my favorite athletes are so awesome that they deserve their own desserts named after them.  So what did I do this past Saturday, when one of my favorite Syracuse basketball players was playing at the Carrier Dome for the last time?  I made little vanilla cookie cups in his honor, of course.

I’m guessing you’re not quite as obsessed interested with Syracuse basketball as I am, so I have to explain myself a bit.  For the past 5 years, Scoop Jardine has been a part of the Syracuse basketball team (he redshirted one year).  He got the nickname “Scoop” as a child because his grandma thought his head was shaped like an ice cream scoop.   Not surprisingly, Scoop’s name is a huge hit with fans — when he makes a shot, what sounds like thousands of fans booing is really a celebratory “Scoooooop!!”

Being the marketing-minded girl I am, I’ve always felt they should have a “Scoops for Scoop” promotion where fans get a free scoop of ice cream if Scoop scores xx points in a game, but well, that never happened.  So with it being Cookie March Madness and all, I finally took matters into my own hands and made these mini vanilla ice cream cookie cups to celebrate Scoop!

I added orange gel food coloring to a very vanilla cookie dough before scooping it into mini muffin cups.  Once baked, I used a little cookie scoop (a melon baller would also work) to scoop out the top of the cookie, then filled it with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Scoops for Scoop!

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Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Yay, it’s finally Christmas week!  Does anyone else feel like Christmas spirit is going to be waayyy up this year since Christmas is on a Sunday?  I mean, we have the entire week to soak it all up!  You can wear Christmas socks all week, listen to holiday music at all hours of the day, watch Home Alone on repeat, and stick red and green M&M’s in your peanut butter sandwiches…. hmm, just me on that last one, maybe?  Sorry, I may be writing this on a cookie-fueled sugar high…

I think I’m more excited for Christmas Eve than Christmas.  I decided that we should do a themed Christmas Eve this year just to change things up, so we’re having a Mexican Christmas Eve… Feliz Navidad!  

Besides guacamole and salsa and green & red tortilla chips, I’m not really sure what our Feliz Navidad meal is going to consist of yet.  I need your help!  If you have any good Mexican main or side dishes, link them in the comments or email me, please!  I will repay you in delicious cookie recipes.

Fittingly, I’ve got a Mexican-ish cookie for you today!  Ever since my dissatisfaction with cinnamon M&M’s, I’ve had chocolate and cinnamon on the mind, so I decided to make these flourless Mexican hot chocolate cookies!  So soft they literally melt in your mouth… chock full of quality cocoa, subtly spiced with cinnamon and (optional!) chile powder… yes, they are as good as they sound.  Best served with a cup of… Mexican hot chocolate!

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Marathon Cookies

Late last week, as I sat thinking about my next chocolate chip cookie idea, a little lightbulb went off.  Excited about my idea, I told myself I could only allow it to come to life if I crossed the finish line at the NYC marathon.  Well, I did that…

So, then I did this (I hope you’re inching toward the edge of your seat)…

To celebrate my first marathon, I’ve created the ultimate marathon cookie.  As in, a cookie with twenty-six ingredients.  One ingredient for each and every mile.  Like a marathon, this creation wasn’t easy.  My struggle to come up with ingredients 20-26 made me laugh — if you’ve completed a marathon, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

My sister questioned whether a cookie with more than two dozen ingredients would be edible.  Oh, they’re not just edible — they’re incredible. 😉  I was extremely selective with the ingredients to ensure no clashing of flavors.  I also chose ingredients that really represent my diet as a runner.  Lots of nutritious ingredients like chia seeds, dates, and dried cranberries.  And a few indulgent items for sanity’s sake.  The result is a dense, chewy cookie that takes your taste buds on a little journey similar to what your legs experience over twenty-six miles.   But unlike the latter, I promise you will be able to walk down stairs pain-free after eating one of these cookies.

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