Category Archives: Cookies

Old-Fashioned Scottish Oatcakes

 

Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart's Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves
Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves

Oatcakes are very versatile and take such basic, simple ingredients.  A cross between a cookie and a cracker, they are savory bites and are not overly sweet.  In fact, I would describe these artisan cookies/crackers as having a nice short, crisp texture.  Scottish in origin, oatcakes probably made their debut in Canada when they arrived along with Scottish immigrants.

Oatcakes can be eaten as plain cookies or sandwiched together with jam or date filling.  They can be consumed as crackers served with various condiments such as tangy gourmet preserves and marmalades alongside cheese, such as Brie.  Here I am serving them with J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves made in Stratford, PEI.  You can read the story I wrote earlier on J.J. Stewart’s products by clicking here.

This product is a bit sharp and tangy and goes particularly well with a plain oatcake and Brie cheese.   Whatever preserve, jam, or marmalade you serve with these, make sure it is not runny.  It needs to be fairly thick consistency so it will stay in place atop the oatcake. Choosing a bright red jam makes these colorful savories!

Oatcakes can also be dipped in chocolate.  And, yes, they can even find their way onto an afternoon tea table because they taste especially good with a fine cup of tea.  In fact, I served them at my Tartan Day Afternoon Tea this year.

Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea
Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea

 

Old-fashioned Savory Oatcakes

 Ingredients:

1 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 cups oatmeal (not instant)

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Oatcake Ingredients
Oatcake Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350°.

With electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

With mixer at lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and, using a wooden spoon, add the oatmeal.  Stir well.

Roll out dough thin – between ⅛” and ¼” thick.  Cut into 2” circles or squares.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven an let set on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Oatcakes freeze very well.  They are a great staple to have on hand along with a good quality preserve or marmalade so, when company drops in unexpectedly, it is quick and easy to pull together some refreshments.  Set out the bottle of preserve, a stack of oatcakes, some favorite cheese, and fresh fruit and you have a savory snack food!

 

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2013 “Cookie of the Month” Year-end Round-up

Those who regularly follow my blog will recall that I made the commitment back in January 2013 to post one cookie recipe a month for the entire year.  So, for ease of retrieval, I thought I would do a year-end round-up of all 12 cookies.

In January, just in time for Robbie Burns Day, I shared my recipe for Shortbread.

Shortbread

In February, with sweet Valentine’s Day, old-fashioned Sugar Cookies topped the list.

Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies

In March, Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies, made with a hint of stout, were ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Drop Cookies Made with Stout
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

In April, thoughts turned to lighter, more spring-like, fare like these Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies.

Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies
Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies

In May, old-fashioned Cherry Winks proved they are still a perennial favorite.

Cherry Wink Cookie
Cherry Wink Cookie

In June, the no-bake Spider Cookies proved they are just as much a favorite today as they were when I was growing up!

Spider Cookies
Spider Cookies

In July, as we celebrated “Christmas in July”, the Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies brought back memories of the kinds of cookies often found in grandma’s cookie jar.

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

In August, Chocolate Drop Cookies, were a hit with the chocolate lovers!

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookies

In September, crisp and light-textured Peanut Butter Cookies made it on to the cookie of the month roster.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

In October, the substantial and tasty raisin-filled Plum Puff Cookies heralded the fall season.

Plum Puff Cookies
Plum Puff Cookies

In November, when the days turned cooler and thoughts turned to the sweet smell of cooking with spices, the old-fashioned icebox Gingersnaps made their debut.

Gingersnaps
Gingersnaps

In December, these Coconut Cherry Macaroons made a fine addition to trays of sweets and to gift boxes.

Coconut Cherry Macaroons
Coconut Cherry Macaroons

I hope you have enjoyed some of my favorite cookie recipes.  Do you have a favorite cookie?

Barbara

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December 2013 Cookie of the Month: Coconut Cherry Macaroons

This is the final cookie of the month for 2013.  I have selected to share Coconut Cherry Macaroons, a favorite recipe that has been in our family for decades.

There are so many recipes for coconut macaroons with ingredients and methods for making them that vary.  This is a variation of the traditional coconut macaroon cookie.  Macaroons are not difficult to make and don’t take a lot of ingredients.  The addition of the candied cherries makes these macaroons tasty.  They are also showy on a plate of sweets.  I hope you enjoy them.

Coconut Cherry Macaroons

4 extra-large eggs (at room temperature), separated (reserve the yolks)

¼ tsp salt

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp almond extract

½ tsp vanilla

3 cups coconut*

1½ cups flour

¾ cup red candied cherries, chopped

¾ cup green candied cherries, chopped

 

Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed just until frothy.  Gradually, and very slowly, add the sugar while continuing to beat on high speed.  Whisk the egg whites and sugar until mixture forms stiff peaks.

Meanwhile, in separate large bowl, with a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the four egg yolks along with the almond and vanilla flavorings.

Stir in coconut.  Add flour and candied cherries.  Mix well.

Fold the stiff egg white mixture into the coconut mixture.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

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Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cookies are set.   Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

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* Any kind of coconut — flaked, shredded, or macaroon — and either sweetened or unsweetened (or a mixture of both), can be used.  In the photographs that accompany this recipe, I used macaroon coconut, a shorter variety of coconut.

Happy Holidays!

Attractively package these macaroons and they make a great hostess gift or a remembrance for a teacher, colleague, neighbor, or anyone who has a sweet tooth!

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November 2013 Cookie of the Month: Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps
Gingersnaps

November brings days with shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures.  If you are like me, when late fall arrives, your thoughts turn to comfort foods that include spicy cookies.  My choice of cookie of the month for November is the old-fashioned gingersnap.  These wafer-thin, crisp cookies are flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, all scents that make the kitchen smell divine when they are baking.

Gingersnaps are not difficult to make but they do take some time since this recipe requires the dough to be shaped into logs and then refrigerated for 24 hours.  While these cookies are tasty any time of the year, they make a great addition to holiday sweet trays and gift boxes.  The dough can also be frozen, then thawed, sliced, and baked when desired.

Old-fashioned Gingersnaps

Ingredients:

1/3 cup molasses

2 tbsp brown sugar

½ cup margarine

 

1 tsp soda

 

1 egg yolk

 

1½ cups flour

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

¼ tsp salt

 

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Into medium-sized saucepan, combine molasses, brown sugar, and margarine.  Over medium-low heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring regularly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat once mixture has started to boil.  Add soda and stir well.  Cool mixture to room temperature.

Add egg yolk to cooled mixture.  Stir well.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a stiff dough.  Stir well to combine.

Turn dough onto wax paper and roll and shape into two logs each about 2½” – 3” in diameter – either round or rectangular-shaped.  Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap.  Chill for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Remove cookie logs from refrigerator and unwrap.  Using a very sharp knife, slice each log into 1/8” slices.

Place cookies about 1” apart on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on pan for 2-3 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

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October 2013 Cookie of the Month: Plum Puff Cookies

Plum Puff Cookies

 

Plum Puff Cookies are my October 2013 Cookie of the Month.  These are hearty cookies because each one is actually two cookies sandwiched together with a tasty raisin filling.  These cookies can also be filled with your favorite jam, date , or even lemon, filling.

Cookie Ingredients:

¼ cup butter

½ tbsp lard

½ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp milk

½ tsp vanilla

1¼ cups flour

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp soda

1/8 tsp cardamon

 

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

 

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat butter and lard together.  Add sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg, milk, and vanilla.

Sift flour, salt, soda, and cardamom together.  Stir into wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated.

Knead dough into ball.  If dough is soft, place in refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about 1/8” thickness.  Divide dough in half.  Using a 2 – 2½” linzer round crinkle cookie cutter, cut out one half of the dough into solid circles.  Cut remaining dough into the same size circles but fit the linzer cookie cutter with desired cut-out for cookie centers. (Note:  If you don’t have a linzer cookie cutter, simply use any cookie cutter shape you have and then use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies.)

Place cookies, about 1½” – 2” apart, on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake on center rack in oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack for 2-3 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

When cookies have cooled completely, spread raisin filling (recipe follows) on flat side of each solid cookie, then top with the flat side of a cookie that has center cut out.

Yield:  2-dozen sandwich cookies

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup raisins

1 tbsp flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

½ tsp vanilla

Pinch of cinnamon

Smidgeon of salt

 

Combine all ingredients in saucepan.  Over medium-low heat, cook raisin mixture until thickened.

An old-fashioned wholesome cookie.

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September 2013 Cookie of the Month: Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

My September Cookie of the Month is an old favourite – peanut butter cookies.  These cookies take very few ingredients and nothing out of the ordinary that would not be in most cupboards.  They have been found in many lunchboxes for decades.  Either smooth or crunchy peanut butter may be used – whichever is your preference – in the cookies.  In order to keep the cookies a bit soft, watch the baking time, checking them at the 10-minute point.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

½ cup peanut butter

1 egg, well-beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp soda

1/8 tsp salt

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream shortening, and butter together.  Beat in brown and white sugars until fluffy.

Mix in peanut butter.

Add egg and vanilla.

Sift flour, soda, and salt together.  Add to wet ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated.

If dough is very soft, refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.  Shape dough into small balls about 1” in diameter.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 ½” – 3” apart as these cookies spread.

With fork dipped in sugar, press down cookies in a traditional criss-cross pattern with the tines of the fork.

Bake on center rack in oven for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

Yield:  3½ – 4 dozen

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August 2013 Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Drop Cookies

I have always been a chocolate lover.  These chocolate cookies were ones my Mother often made when I was a child.  I like the rich chocolate flavour and somewhat chewy center they have.  These cookies don’t take any uncommon ingredients or ones most bakers wouldn’t have in their cupboards.  Of course, using the best cocoa you can find will make for a richer, more flavourful cookie.

They are very easy to make and, being drop cookies, there is no rolling the dough and cutting out shapes and no need for any icing.  Simply scoop up some dough with a teaspoon and use another to slide the dough off the spoon and on to the cookie sheet.  These cookies can be dressed up with 1/2 cup of either chopped nuts, dates, raisins, or even chocolate chips.  However, I don’t add any extras to them as I like the smooth texture and flavour they have on their own without any further additions.

Chocolate Drop Cookies

1/2 cup shortening, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

With electric mixer, beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).  Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.

Into separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Add to wet ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 10-11 minutes.  Do not overbake or cookies will be dry.

Yield:  Apx. 3 dozen

These cookies are good any time and make good lunch box treats as well as picnic basket fare.  They are especially good with a dish of vanilla ice cream!

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July 2013 Cookie of the Month: Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies (It’s Christmas in July!)

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

Happy Christmas in July!  I know, I know, I know!  It’s only July but it’s never too early to think about Christmas cookies!  So, as I continue on with my Cookie of the Month series in 2013, I am sharing an old family favourite – Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies – as the July cookie.

This recipe was shared with me by a neighbour lady 36 years ago.  It has long been a favourite cookie in our household.  It is not too sweet but is very tasty….bite into one of these cookies and you’ll find that one will not be enough!

You can also vary the flavour by using different jams and jellies in the center, although red jam is always the most showy.  I have used some of my fresh batch of strawberry jam as the filler in the cookies in these photos.

When my neighbour made the cookies, she never added cherries or nuts; however, I think these additions make the cookies a bit more special, particularly around holiday time.

I do a lot of special baking around the holidays but have discovered that not everyone wants gooey squares and rich decadent cookies, balls, and candy that always seem to adorn sweet trays during the holiday season.  For some, they are just too rich and sweet.  These cookies are the perfect alternative.  They are what I would class as a ‘substantial’ cookie yet the nuts and cherries still keep them within the Christmas ‘zone’.

But don’t reserve them just for the holidays!  They are good any time of the year and are especially good picnic fare and lunch box treats.  They also make a great tea-time snack (yes, I took my Christmas China to the beach for a mid-evening tea and had to watch out for the seagulls who were eying the cookies pretty well!).

The Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies are easy to make and don’t take uncommon ingredients.  They also freeze well so are great to have on hand.

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp cardamom

½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries

Favorite jam or jelly

Method:

Preheat oven to 350C.

Assemble ingredients.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, and cardamom.  Set aside.

Chop well-drained cherries. I drain them on, and dry them with, paper towel.  The cherries need to be very well-drained and dried as, otherwise, they will color the dough pink.  Chop macadamia nuts.  Set both the cherries and nuts aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla.

page 2 - Wet Ingredients

On slow “stir” speed, stir in dry ingredients just until combined.  Do not overmix.

page 3 - Adding Flour

Stir in cherries and nuts by hand.

On parchment-lined baking sheet, drop dough by teaspoonfuls.  With thumb, press indent into center of each cookie.  Fill with ¼ – ½ tsp of favorite jam or jelly.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield:  Apx. 30 cookies (depending on the size you choose to make)

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June 2013 Cookie of the Month: Spider Cookies

 

Oh, these bring back sweet childhood memories!  I grew up knowing these as “Spider Cookies”.  However, they are often simply called “Uncooked Chocolate Cookies”.  Regardless their name, they are simple to make and very tasty; in fact, I’d say they are a close neighbour to candy.

These are indeed a vintage cookie.  I don’t know their origins but do know they were popular in the 1960s and since.  They have often been found at picnics and, whenever there was an event at school, inevitably somebody’s mom showed up with these treats in tow.

The great thing about these cookies is that you don’t have to bake them, they don’t take uncommon or a long list of ingredients, and they are relatively quick and easy to make, even for novice bakers.

Here is what you will need to make these special treats:

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup margarine, butter, or shortening

pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats (not instant)

1/2 cup coconut

6 tbsp cocoa

Method:

In medium-sized saucepan, combine sugar, milk, margarine, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir.

In large bowl, combine rolled oats, coconut, and cocoa.  Stir well to combine.

Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients in bowl.  Stir to combine.  Mixture may seem soft but resist the urge to add more rolled oats which will make the cookies hard and chippy.  Let mixture stand, undisturbed, for 15-20 minutes and it will begin to firm up.

Drop by spoonfuls onto wax-paper lined baking sheet.  Place in refrigerator for apx. 1 hour to firm up cookies.

Yield:  apx. 36 cookies

Store in airtight container.  These cookies also freeze well.

Make sure you use a good quality cocoa to get the best, richest taste in these cookies.

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May 2013 Cookie of the Month: Cherry Winks

Cherry Wink Cookie
Cherry Wink Cookie

For the May “Cookie of the Month”, I am sharing our family recipe for the vintage cookie, Cherry Winks.  My Mother often made these cookies when I was a small child so they have been a family favorite for many years.  They are not difficult to make and don’t take any hard-to-find or unusual ingredients.  These tasty cookies are very versatile – they can be served on a sweet tray at an afternoon tea or they can be lunchbox cookies.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shortening or butter

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs, unbeaten

4 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chopped dates

3/4 cup chopped pecans

apx. 2 1/2 – 3 cups cornflakes

apx. 15 maraschino cherries, blotted dry in paper towel, and cut into quarters

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream shortening or butter.  Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.  Beat in milk and vanilla.

page 1 -butter mixture

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Whisk together to blend.  Mix in the dates and pecans. Add to creamed mixture and stir until well combined.

Crush cornflakes crumbs by placing in a sealed ziplock bag and crushing with a rolling pin.

Transfer crumbs to shallow bowl.  Shape dough into small balls. Roll each cookie ball in the crumbs to coat.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Top each cookie with piece of cherry.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

These cookies go especially well with a glass of cold milk!

…and one is never enough!

A box of these cookies makes a wonderful, tasty gift!

What are your memories of cherry winks?

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