How to Make Orange Cooler Cookies (Recipe)

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 , 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 (Recipe)

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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How to Make Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies (Recipe)

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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Daring Bakers September 2017: Sugar Cookies

One thing I love most about the growing number of baking blogs is the variety of creations I get to read about. Each and every one of us has a way of using quality, unique ingredients to create amazing recipes. Sometimes traditional, other times innovative, but always enticing.
What happens when baking bloggers come together to make the same recipe?
I recently became a Daring Baker through The Daring Kitchen. Each month, one guest host reveals a baking recipe of their choice. The challenges are typically “outside the box” – thus the reason for the name daring bakers. As a daring baker, you have the entire month to create the recipe, share photos of your creation, and (if you wish) blog about it. I’m glad September was my first month – August’s challenge was baked alaska and ice cream petits fours!

This month’s daring recipe was a sugar cookie recipe using royal icing. No break-and-bake sugar cookies, no canned frosting. The real stuff. We all used the same sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. However, we were encouraged to flavor the cookies alternatively if we so pleased. We also had to follow a theme – fall. Our interpretations of fall, in a cookie. Whatever fall makes you think of. 🙂

For my cookies, I chose to add maple flavor instead of the traditional vanilla or almond. I also added pumpkin pie spice, since I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff this time of year. I loved the light brown color my cookies took on with these two additions. So much so that I opted not to completely cover the cookies in icing – they don’t need it!
I was thrilled to come across a New York state cookie cutter this past weekend in Wegmans. Yes, one more reason why Wegmans is in fact the best grocery store on earth – better than TJ’s, if you can imagine. While I may not be proud to call NY my home in the dead of winter, it’s a great place to be in September. Temperatures fluctuate between cool and warm, leaves are beginning to turn, and apples are aplenty.

I had to laugh when I cut the first cookie with the cookie cutter and Long Island fell off. See, even the cookies don’t want to be associated with Long Island!
In addition to my NY cookies, I ended up making some smaller cookies with my new mini fall-themed cookie cutters as well.
If you love to bake and are always up for a challenge, consider joining the Daring Bakers. You don’t even need to have a blog to join! I’m only one month in but I’m loving it already!
Basic Sugar Cookies (Gone Maple Spice!)

My adaptation from this recipe
Makes Approximately 36 4-inch cookies
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3 cups + 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. maple flavor
Cream together the butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and maple flavor. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture. Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.

Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.

Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 1/5 inch . Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins. Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour. Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.

Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies. Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done.

Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired. Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.

How to Make Greek Yogurt Cookies (Recipe)

Happy day-after-Christmas!  I hope you had a lovely holiday and aren’t feeling too much of a sugar hangover from the past few days… you know how holidays can be.

I don’t know about you, but post-holiday, I’m always trying to keep things a *bit* lighter.  And with New Years next week, you know you’ll be indulging again soon enough.  In times like these, I grab my trusty Greek yogurt and whip up a little somethin’ sweet but sensible, like these Greek yogurt cookies.

Let me tell you, these are some soft, fluffy, pillowy (?) sugar cookies, and that’s all thanks to the Greek yogurt in the cookie dough.  For these cookies, I strained the yogurt overnight (see recipe for instructions), which gives the yogurt a more cream cheese like consistency, perfect for making soft cookies.   I used just the tiniest amount of butter, mostly for the flavor, which keeps these cookies fairly light from a nutritional perspective.

The cookies are reminiscent of a sour cream sugar cookie, if you’ve ever had one.  If not, don’t bother… just make these!

I added extra vanilla to the cookie dough for a very flavorful cookie.  You could certainly substitute some of the vanilla for another flavoring — almond, lemon, peppermint…

If you want to keep the cookies lighter, you can bypass the frosting and enjoy them plain or with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.  For me, I had lots of leftover cookie frosting on hand, so I had no choice but to top my fluffy cookies with an equally fluffy layer of frosting.

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