Tag Archives: Cookies

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

These hearty Cranberry and Eggnog Cookies are good any time but they are especially good at Christmas. This is because they combine traditional flavors of the season – eggnog, dried cranberries, orange rind, pecans, and the warm spices we associate with Christmas – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are easy to make.  Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before making these cookies. I do NOT recommend softening the butter in the microwave for baked products as it changes the properties of the butter and liquifies it too much.  For butter at room temperature, I remove it from the refrigerator about an hour before I need it and dice the amount I need into about 1” cubes. This hastens the softening.

For other ingredients (e.g., eggs, milk, yogurt) for which a recipe calls for them to be at room temperature, I usually take them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes or so before using them in a recipe. Simply put, room temperature ingredients incorporate into most batters much better than do cold ingredients.

Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Two baking sheets of these cookies can be baked at once with the oven racks positioned in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Rotate the cookie sheets and switch them between racks halfway through the baking to ensure even baking of all the cookies.  These cookies will have a tender texture and be somewhat soft and chewy if they are not overbaked.

I have given a baking time guide of 13-16 minutes.  However, some judgment on the part of the cook is required to determine the baking time for his or her oven because ovens are known for baking somewhat differently. The cookies are done when they are just barely set and the edges and the underneath sides just start to turn a light golden tan color.  Overbaking will result in a harder, crisper cookie.

These festive Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are hearty, wholesome cookies that freeze well and are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.

Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

1½ cups quick cooking rolled oats
¾ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans

½ cup salted butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
¼ cup eggnog, room temperature
1½ tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp pure vanilla

Method:

Position oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together into a bowl. Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine the rolled oats, cranberries, and pecans. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed. Gradually blend in the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula, as required. Add the egg, eggnog, grated orange rind, and vanilla. Beat until combined with butter and brown sugar.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, Increase speed slightly and mix well until ingredients are incorporated.

Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries, and nut mixture until combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving approximately 1½ – 2” between cookies. Bake 13-16 minutes (rotating and switching baking sheets between racks halfway through the baking), or until edges and bottoms of cookies are light golden tanned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before using a cookie lifter to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Approximately 2½ dozen

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Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

These festive Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are hearty, wholesome cookies that are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.
Course Snack
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
  • ¼ cup eggnog, room temperature
  • tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Instructions

  1. Position oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In separate bowl, combine the rolled oats, cranberries, and pecans. Set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed. Gradually blend in the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula, as required. Add the egg, eggnog, grated orange rind, and vanilla. Beat until combined with butter and brown sugar.
  5. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, Increase speed slightly and mix well until ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries, and nut mixture until combined.
  7. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving approximately 1½ - 2” between cookies. Bake 13-16 minutes (rotating and switching baking sheets between racks halfway through the baking), or until edges and bottoms of cookies are light golden tanned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before using a cookie lifter to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 2½ dozen

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Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

Scotch Cookies (sometimes called “Scotch Cakes”), close cousins of Shortbread, are a must-have Christmas tradition in many PEI households. They are a very common addition to holiday sweet plates. I am often asked if I have a recipe for Scotch Cookies and this is it.

The proportions of the main ingredients in these Scotch Cookies follow the holy grail ratio for traditional Scottish Shortbread – 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour.  What differentiates Scotch Cookies from traditional Scottish Shortbread are the liberties taken with ingredients for Scotch Cookies and their decorations. In that way, I suppose one could refer to Scotch Cookies as a modernized version of traditional Shortbread.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

Texture of Scotch Cookies

If you have ever heard someone refer to a cookie as “short”, they mean it has a crumbly texture that melts in the mouth. This texture is achieved by producing a somewhat dry dough which comes from the high flour content in relation to the proportion of fat in the recipe. The use of icing sugar and addition of cornstarch, and only moisture that comes from the butter are also contributing factors. There will be a shortness and crispness to a well-made Scotch Cookie.

INGREDIENTS

Butter

Butter is considered an essential ingredient for which I do not recommend any substitutes in Scotch Cookies. Yes, use the good stuff in Scotch Cookies because you can taste the difference and pure butter is a main contributor to both flavor and the crumbly texture in these cookies.  The cookies may be made with either salted or unsalted butter.  If using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon or a little more of salt to the dry ingredients.

Icing Sugar vs Granulated or Brown Sugar

While traditional Shortbread will typically be made using granulated sugar, I use icing sugar in my Scotch Cookies. Some of you may know icing sugar as powdered or confectioner’s sugar.  I find this sugar gives a much more light and tender crumb in the cookies than does traditional granulated or even brown sugar (called for in some recipes).  Make sure the icing sugar is sifted before measuring out the ½ cup called for in the recipe.

Additional Flavorings

Traditional Shortbread would not typically have any additional flavorings added – it’s basically just the sugar, butter, and flour in Shortbread.  However, I sometimes like to add just a small amount each of pure vanilla and almond flavoring in my Scotch Cookies.  These flavorings are entirely optional in this recipe.  If added, they should be in very small amounts – i.e., ¼ tsp and 1/8 tsp, respectively.  These cookies are meant to taste like butter and adding too much flavoring will interfere with that pure flavor so do exercise caution in how much is added.

Cornstarch

My recipe calls for 1/3 cup cornstarch to which I attribute the melt-in-your-mouth tender texture in the cookies. Mix it in with the flour before incorporating it into the butter/sugar mixture. Cornstarch works magic in combination with the other ingredients to create the “shortness” texture in the cookies.

Flour

Basic, all-purpose flour is fine to use in Scotch Cookies. No special flour is required.

No Leavening in Scotch Cookies

There is no leavening in Scotch Cookies which makes the dough great from which to cut shapes since the stiff, dry dough retains its shape during baking.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

MEASURING INGREDIENTS

When measuring the icing sugar and cornstarch, as well as the flour, make sure you use an accurate measure.  To measure, simply spoon the dry ingredients into the measuring cups without stirring, and then, with the flat side of a table knife, level off the excess.  Do not pack the dry ingredients into the cup, tap the measuring cup with the spoon to settle the dry ingredients into the cup, or tamp the cup on the counter to make room for more.  This will result in an inaccurate measure of the ingredients and may cause the dough to be overly dry if too much of these ingredients is used.

TEXTURE OF DOUGH AND CHILLING DOUGH

Shortbread/Scotch Cookie dough is considered a dry dough as no liquid is added, save for the moisture that comes from the butter.  The dough texture will be soft when mixed.  Placing it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or so to chill will help it to firm up enough to roll out and cut out shapes.  The dough for Scotch Cookies should not be over-kneaded or worked as it will get the gluten in the flour all excited and stirred up resulting in tough cookies.  Just work it enough that the dough comes together and can be rolled out to about ¼“ thickness. The scraps of dough should be handled in the same manner until all the dough has been cut out in shapes. Minimal handling of the dough is one of the keys to tender Scotch Cookies.

I recommend dividing the dough in half and forming discs with each half.  It is a smaller amount of dough to work with at a time, especially for gathering up and re-working the dough for the remainder of the cookie cutting.

CUTTING OUT SCOTCH COOKIES

Scotch Cookies are intended to be small, dainty cookies, about two-bite size.

Because the dough is a dry dough, it does not spread during baking. It, therefore, lends itself well to being cut with any shape of cutter desired.  I recommend a cookie cutter of about 1¾ – 2” in diameter as a suitable size.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

BAKING THE SCOTCH COOKIES

I use insulated cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for baking my Scotch Cookies.  I find the insulated sheets give a bit more protection for the cookies from the heat. That is not to say that other cookie sheets do not work well.

The oven rack should be positioned in the center of the oven to allow good air circulation for the cookies to bake evenly. The cookies (of the size indicated in this recipe) are baked in a slow oven (300°F) for about 22-24 minutes. They will be almost the same color when baked as was the dough. They should not be brown on the edges or the underside side as they are meant to be very pale and delicate. Once removed from the oven, let the cookies rest 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

DECORATING SCOTCH COOKIES

A significant difference between Scotch Cookies and Shortbread is that Shortbread is left plain, unfrosted.  With Scotch Cookies, however, liberties can be taken to decorate them with a small dob of icing piped in the center of each cookie which may, if desired, be decorated with a small bit of very well drained maraschino cherry, a dragée, or quinns of choice as I have done in the photos here with the holly leaves and berries. The cookies can, of course, be left unfrosted, if desired.

Decorated Scotch Cookies
Scotch Cookies Decorated with Christmas Quinns

STORING SCOTCH COOKIES

Undecorated, the cookies can be stored in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container in a cool location for about 4-5 days.  Alternatively, they can be frozen for longer storage.  If applying icing and decorations to the cookies, I recommend doing so just before serving.  This will ensure no damage occurs to the icing or decorations during storage plus the cookies are easier stored in layers, undecorated.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
1/8 tsp almond flavoring (optional)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch

Method:

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until it is light in color and very soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add the icing sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until blended and smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if required. Beat in the vanilla and almond flavoring, if using.

Sift the flour and cornstarch together. With mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until all are incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as required. Mixture will be soft. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disc shape. Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or just until dough becomes firm enough to roll out.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator and, on very lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough evenly to approximately ¼“ thick. With lightly floured cookie cutter of choice about 1¾“ – 2” in diameter, cut out shapes and transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and re-roll scraps of dough until all dough has been used up and cut out into shapes, being careful not to overwork dough. Place cookies about 1½” apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake 22-24 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cookies will be very light colored. Note that baking times will need to be adjusted if other sized cookie cutters are used.

Remove cookies from oven and leave on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes before, using a flat cookie lifter, transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies may be left plain or a small dab of icing may be piped on to center of each cookie and then, if desired, topped with a small bit of well-drained maraschino cherry, dragée or quinns of choice.

Yield:  Apx. 3 – 3½ dozen cookies. [Note that exact yield will depend on thickness to which dough is rolled and the size of cutter used.]

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Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

These melt-in-the-mouth Scotch Cookies have a delectable buttery flavor and a tender light crumb.
Course Sweet Treats
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Scotch Cakes, Scotch Cookies, shortbread
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp almond flavoring (optional)
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

Instructions

  1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until it is light in color and very soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add the icing sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until blended and smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if required. Beat in the vanilla and almond flavoring, if using.
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. With mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until all are incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as required. Mixture will be soft. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disc shape. Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or just until dough becomes firm enough to roll out.
  3. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and, on very lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough evenly to approximately ¼“ thick. With lightly floured cookie cutter of choice about 1¾“ – 2” in diameter, cut out shapes and transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and re-roll scraps of dough until all dough has been used up and cut out into shapes, being careful not to overwork dough. Place cookies about 1½” apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake 22-24 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cookies will be very light colored. Note that baking times will need to be adjusted if other sized cookie cutters are used.
  5. Remove cookies from oven and leave on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes before, using a flat cookie lifter, transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Cookies may be left plain or a small dab of icing may be piped on to center of each cookie and then, if desired, topped with a small bit of well-drained maraschino cherry, dragée or quinns of choice.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 – 3½ dozen cookies. [Note that exact yield will depend on thickness to which dough is rolled and the size of cutter used.]

 

Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies
Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Linzer cookies, so-named for the Austrian Linzer Torte they replicate, are simply two shortbread-type cookies sandwiched together with jam.  The cookies are commonly filled with raspberry jam which produces a very showy cookie. These cookies are traditionally found on sweet trays at Christmas but they are wonderful any time of the year.  So, there is no need to wait for Christmas to enjoy them! You can legitimately actually have two cookies without feeling guilty when you eat one of these sandwich cookies – bonus!

Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Raspberry Linzer Cookies

The Linzer Torte, said to be the oldest cake recipe in the world and dating back to the late 1600s, is believed to have originated in the City of Linz in Austria.  Made with a rich buttery crust of primarily butter, flour, and ground nuts, the torte was traditionally filled with black currant preserves and topped with a lattice crust that allowed the preserves to shine through.

Linzer cookies are a take on the Linzer Torte put into a cookie format.  Two cookies are sandwiched together with jam and the top cookie is generously dusted with powdered sugar making it very showy. To keep the jam filling visible, a simple cut-out is made in the top cookie.

Linzer Cookies
Raspberry Linzer Cookies

The ingredients for the cookies are fairly basic and the texture closely resembles shortbread.  That is to say, the cookies have a short, crisp, yet tender texture.

Linzer Cookies
Texture of Linzer Cookies

While Linzer Cookies are obviously different than a torte, several of the ingredients are the same – butter, flour, and ground almonds.  I add small amounts of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves but in such small amounts that the flavours are very subtle. Some grated orange rind, vanilla, and almond flavoring are the only other injections of flavour into the rich buttery dough.

Linzer Cookies
Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

To make these cookies gluten free, replace the 2¼ cups all-purpose flour with an equal amount of gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour.

Linzer Cookies
Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Tips for Making Linzer Cookies

  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
  • Do not overmix or overhandle the dough. Just mix it enough so it will cling together.
  • Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disc. Wrap the discs, separately, in plastic wrap and chill the dough for 35-45 minutes or until dough is firm enough to roll out.  This will make the dough less sticky and easier to handle. The dough can be made up to a day ahead but it will need to be removed from the refrigerator for several minutes before rolling it out as it will be far too hard to allow the dough to be rolled out without it cracking or breaking apart.
  • Special Linzer cookie cutters (seen at top of photo below) exist for cutting out these two-part cookies. These cutters have a plunger attachment that allows different interchangeable cut-out inserts to be used to cut out small shapes, like hearts, circles, and diamonds, in the centers of cookies.  This cut-out, of course, allows the pretty jam or preserves to show through. If you don’t have a Linzer cutter, simply cut out the shape of the cookie with any 2” cookie cutter and then use a small 1” cookie cutter to cut out the center hole in half the cookie batch.  Many sets of nesting cookie cutters have various sizes of cutters suitable for this purpose.
Linzer Cookies
Raspberry Linzer Cookies

 

  • Work with one dough disc at a time. Roll the dough to about 1/8” thick.  Two cookies will be sandwiched together so about 1/8” thickness is thick enough for each cookie half.  Make sure you cut out an even number of whole cookies and cookies with the cut-outs so you will have matched pairs.
  • The cookies, once cut out and placed 1” apart on parchment-lined baking sheets need to go back into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. This is an important step because the fat in the chilled cookies will take longer to melt once the cookies are placed in the oven than would room-temperature cookies. The chilling will mean the cookies will spread less as they bake and we want these cookies to hold their shape perfectly, especially the cut-out centers in the top cookies.
  • Do not overbake the cookies. Bake them for 11-13 minutes, just until the cookies are set and have a light golden color.
  • Dust the cut-out cookie tops with powdered sugar BEFORE placing them over the filled cookie bottoms (a small fine wire mesh sieve works well for this or a small metal mesh-topped can can also be used (seen in photo above)). If you wait to sugar-coat the cookies until after they have been assembled, the sugar will cover the jam filling and cause it to become cloudy and lose its clear, shimmery appearance.
Linzer Cookies
Sugar-dusted Cookie Tops for Linzer Cookies

 

  • Any red jam or black currant jam can be used in these cookies. My preference is to use raspberry as the flavour blends well with the ground almonds and the orange flavoring in the cookies.  I do recommend, whatever type of jam is used, that it be seedless. Do not spread the jam right to the outside edge of the bottom cookies as the jam will ooze out.  Keep the jam in the center of the cookie bottoms.  When the top cookie is placed on the jam-filled bottom, it will spread the jam further out in the cookie.  No jam should be visible on the outside edges of Linzer cookies.  If a bit more jam is desired in the cookies, use a tiny coffee spoon to carefully drop a bit more jam into the center of the assembled sandwich cookies.
Linzer Cookies
Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

 

  • It is not recommended to freeze the assembled cookies for a couple of reasons. First, the jam is likely to soak into the cookies, especially as they thaw.  This will cause the cookies to lose their crisp texture.  Second, it takes up more container and freezer space to freeze the cookies in single layers so that the powdered sugar does not fall off the cookies or transfer onto the jam-filled centers, marring the look of the cookies.
  • Store filled cookies in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Linzer Cookies
Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Ingredients:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour (to make them gluten free, substitute an equal amount of gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour
¾ cup finely ground almonds
1 tbsp cornstarch
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
Pinch cloves

1 cup butter, room temperature (no substitutes)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp powdered sugar (aka icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavoring
1 tsp finely grated orange rind

Seedless raspberry jam (1/2  – ¾ cup)

Additional powdered sugar for dusting cookies

Method:

Sift dry ingredients together.  Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow.  Slowly add the sugars and cream well for 2-3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and almond flavoring as well as the grated orange rind. Mix to combine well.

With mixer set on low speed, gradually blend in the dry ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.  Do not overmix.  Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and gather the dough, working it just enough that it clings together.  Divide the dough into two equal portions and form each half into a round disc.  Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 35-45 minutes, or until firm enough to roll.

On lightly floured surface, roll a dough disc into 1/8” thickness.  Using a 2” Linzer cookie cutter (either straight edged or fluted), cut cookies from one half the dough.  Gather dough scrapes and continue cutting out the cookies until the dough is used up. These will be the cookie bottoms. Roll out remaining dough disc in the same manner for the cookie tops.  To cut out the cookie tops, use the same Linzer cutter but fitted with one of the insert shapes to cut out a small 1” shape in the center of each cookie. Repeat until an equal number of cookies with cut out centers have been cut as there are whole cookies. If you do not have a Linzer cookie cutter, use any 2” cookie cutter and a 1” cutter of any shape for the center cut-out of half the cookies.

Place cookies about 1” apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Refrigerate cookies for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies on the middle oven rack for 11-13 minutes, or just until cookies are set and a light golden color. Do not overbake. Remove cookies from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes then, using a flat lifter/spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble sandwich cookies, place the cookie halves that have the cut-out centers on a cutting board (these will be the top cookies).  Dust the cookies generously with sifted powdered sugar, covering the cookies with an even coating of the sugar.  On the flat side (i.e., the underneath side) of the whole cookies, spread about 1 – 1½ teaspoons jam in the center of each cookie, being careful not to spread the jam all the way to the cookie edges (stay within ¼” of the cookie edge).  Place the cut-out sugar-dusted cookie tops over the jam-spread bottom cookies to create the sandwich. If desired, use a tiny spoon to carefully add a bit more jam into the center cut-out of each cookie.

Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.  To freeze cookies, package unassembled cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container.  Bring cookies to room temperature before filling with jam and assembling as above described.

Yield:  Approximately 26 sandwiched cookies.

Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Sugar-dusted jam-filled Linzer Cookies have a tender and crisp texture and buttery flavour complimented by ground almonds and subtle spice seasonings.
Course Dessert
Keyword Linzer Cookies
Servings 26
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour (to make them gluten free substitute an equal amount of gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour
  • ¾ cup finely ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • Pinch cloves
  • 1 cup butter room temperature (no substitutes)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar aka icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • Seedless raspberry jam 1/2 – ¾ cup
  • Additional powdered sugar for dusting cookies

Instructions

  1. Sift dry ingredients together. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Slowly add the sugars and cream well for 2-3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond flavoring as well as the grated orange rind. Mix to combine well.
  3. With mixer set on low speed, gradually blend in the dry ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix. Turn dough on to a lightly floured surface and gather the dough, working it just enough that it clings together. Divide the dough into two equal portions and form each half into a round disc. Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 35-45 minutes, or until firm enough to roll.
  4. On lightly floured surface, roll a dough disc into 1/8” thickness. Using a 2” Linzer cookie cutter (either straight edged or fluted), cut cookies from one half the dough. Gather dough scrapes and continue cutting out the cookies until the dough is used up. These will be the cookie bottoms. Roll out remaining dough disc in the same manner for the cookie tops. To cut out the cookie tops, use the same Linzer cutter but fitted with one of the insert shapes to cut out a small 1” shape in the center of each cookie. Repeat until an equal number of cookies with cut out centers have been cut as there are whole cookies. If you do not have a Linzer cookie cutter, use any 2” cookie cutter and a 1” cutter of any shape for the center cut-out of half the cookies.
  5. Place cookies about 1” apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate cookies for about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies on the middle oven rack for 11-13 minutes, or just until cookies are set and a light golden color. Do not overbake. Remove cookies from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes then, using a flat lifter/spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To assemble sandwich cookies, place the cookie halves that have the cut-out centers on a cutting board (these will be the top cookies). Dust the cookies generously with sifted powdered sugar, covering the cookies with an even coating of the sugar. On the flat side (i.e., the underneath side) of the whole cookies, spread about 1 – 1½ teaspoons jam in the center of each cookie, being careful not to spread the jam all the way to the cookie edges (stay within ¼” of the cookie edge). Place the cut-out sugar-dusted cookie tops over the jam-spread bottom cookies to create the sandwich. If desired, use a tiny spoon to carefully add a bit more jam into the center cut-out of each cookie.
  8. Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To freeze cookies, package unassembled cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container. Bring cookies to room temperature before filling with jam and assembling as above described.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 26 sandwiched cookies.

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Linzer Cookies
Classic Raspberry Linzer Cookies

 

The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

[PLEASE NOTE:  The original publishing of this recipe contained the incorrect amount of butter.  The recipe has now been corrected below.  Please disregard any previous printouts you may have made of this recipe and print the correct one below.]

The folklore of rum running during prohibition in Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the stuff of which legends and ballads are made.  In PEI, so the stories go, locals would set sail in fishing boats, under the cover of darkness, and head out to sea to meet ships from St. Pierre and Miquelon carrying rum.  The locals, known as rumrunners, would buy the rum and head back to Island shores with the smuggled contraband liquor.

Now, these Rum and Raisin Cookies would probably not have been made during prohibition but the legend of the rumrunners has inspired me to name them the Rumrunners.

Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

These cookies are made from a rolled cookie dough to which rum-soaked raisins have been added.  Dark rum should be used for the soaking of the raisins as it will generate the most depth of flavour (as opposed to a light or amber rum).  Simply soak the raisins in the rum for a few minutes, then simmer them on the stove.  Let the raisins stand for about an hour after they have simmered.  This should see most of the rum soaked into the now plump raisins.  However, the raisins should be drained in a wire-mesh sieve to remove any excess rum.  Do not add any of the rum liquid to the dough as it is not intended to have any liquid, apart from the egg yolk, in it. The subtle rum flavour comes from the rum-soaked raisins.

The recipe calls for unsalted butter; however, salted butter may be used but, if so, eliminate the 1/4 tsp of salt called for in the recipe.

The dough will be too soft to roll out after it has just been mixed.  Chill it in the refrigerator, for 15-20 minutes or just until it is firm enough to roll out.

Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

Choose a relatively simple cookie cutter, about 1 3/4″ – 2″ in diameter, for these cookies.  These delicately crisp and rich buttery cookies freeze well and are a great addition to any sweet tray.

The Rum Runners - Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

The Rumrunners’ Rum and Raisin Cookies also make a great gift.

Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

I think the rumrunners would have approved of these cookies!

Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners – Rum and Raisin Cookies

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

The Rumrunners’ Rum and Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup sultana raisins
¼ cup dark rum

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp baking power
¼ tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter
¾ cup icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp vanilla

Method:

Combine raisins and rum in small saucepan. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and boil gently for approximately 1 -2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  Do not boil raisins dry. Remove from heat, cover, and let raisins stand for about 1 hour.  Drain raisins in small wire mesh sieve and discard any remaining rum (there should be very little).

In small bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.  Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 1 minute.  Gradually, add the icing sugar and beat just until the butter and sugar are combined.  Blend in the egg yolk, orange rind, and vanilla, mixing just until the ingredients are incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  Stir in the drained raisins. Do not add any remaining rum from raisins to the cookie dough.

Gently gather the dough together just enough to form it into two balls.  With hands, flatten each ball into disk shape.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough is firm enough to roll.  Line large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 300°F.  Working with each disk separately, roll the dough ¼“ thick on a lightly floured surface.  Using a 1¾” – 2” cookie cutter, cut cookies into desired shapes, cutting the cookies as close together as possible to minimize the dough scraps that will need to be re-worked and re-rolled.  Note that re-working and re-rolling the dough scraps more than 2-3 times may result in cookies that have a tough texture.  Place cookies, about 1” apart on cookie sheet(s). Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cookies are set, turning pan half-way through the baking process.  Cool cookies on baking sheet(s) for 3-4 minutes then, using a small lifter, transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze between layers of waxed paper in airtight container for longer storage.

Yield:  Approximately 4 – 4½ dozen

The Rumrunners’ Rum and Raisin Cookies

Rum-soaked raisins add “spirit” to these delicately crisp and buttery cookies that have a hint of orange flavor and cardamom spice.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sultana raisins
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp baking power
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine raisins and rum in small saucepan. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and boil gently for approximately 1 -2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Do not boil raisins dry. Remove from heat, cover, and let raisins stand for about 1 hour. Drain raisins in small wire mesh sieve and discard any remaining rum (there should be very little).
  2. In small bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 1 minute. Gradually, add the icing sugar and beat just until the butter and sugar are combined. Blend in the egg yolk, orange rind, and vanilla, mixing just until the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Stir in the drained raisins. Do not add any remaining rum from raisins to the cookie dough.
  4. Gently gather the dough together just enough to form it into two balls. With hands, flatten each ball into disk shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill dough in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough is firm enough to roll. Line large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 300°F. Working with each disk separately, roll the dough ¼“ thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 1¾” - 2” cookie cutter, cut cookies into desired shapes, cutting the cookies as close together as possible to minimize the dough scraps that will need to be re-worked and re-rolled. Note that re-working and re-rolling the dough scraps more than 2-3 times may result in cookies that have a tough texture. Place cookies, about 1” apart on cookie sheet(s). Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cookies are set, turning pan half-way through the baking process. Cool cookies on baking sheet(s) for 3-4 minutes then, using a small lifter, transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze between layers of waxed paper in airtight container for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 4 – 4½ dozen

 

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Rum and Raisin Cookies
The Rumrunners’ Rum and Raisin Cookies

Marvelous Melting Moments Recipe

Melting Moments
Marvelous Melting Moments

How can a cookie with only 6 simple ingredients taste this good!!!  Well, they’re not called Melting Moments without good reason.  One bite of these sweet temptations and, from the rich, tender crumb of the cookie, you’ll find they quickly melt in your mouth.

Made only with butter (absolutely no substitutions on this one), icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar), vanilla, flour, cornstarch, and salt, they’re easy to make and delightful to eat! And, they make wonderful gifts, too, and are also a special addition to any holiday sweet tray.

Melting Moments
Melting Moments

My mother always comments on how “short” these cookies are.  “Shortness” in a cookie is characterized by the amount of fat and sugar present and the high ratio of butter to flour in the recipe. To get the high degree of tenderness that is the hallmark of a “short” cookie, a lot of butter is used in the dough and, the more fat content, the more tender and rich the cookie crumb will be.

Melting Moments
Melting Moments

It’s important that these cookies not be over-handled or over-mixed as they will become tough. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth then incorporate the dry ingredients. This cookie dough is too tender to roll out because it won’t hold together to cut shapes from so simply pinch off pieces of the dough and quickly form them into small balls. Don’t over-work them as the dough will become warm and, subsequently, sticky. As a mark of reference, I use about 5/8 oz of dough per ball.  Now, I don’t stop and weigh the dough for each cookie because, from experience, I can “eyeball” how much dough is needed per cookie but it’s good to have a frame of reference as to the size of the cookie ball. Place the cookie balls on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the cookies and decorate each with a tiny bit of maraschino cherry, if desired.

These cookies freeze very well so they can be made well ahead and frozen until they are needed. They are the perfect Christmas or anytime cookie!

Melting Moments
Melting Moments

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Melting Moments

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Maraschino cherries for decorations (if desired)

Method:

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Cream butter.  Add the icing sugar and cream well with the butter.  Mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture and blend until well incorporated.

Form dough into small round balls (apx. 5/8 oz dough per ball).  Place balls on prepared baking sheets and flatten each ball with the tines of a fork.  Decorate with small bits of maraschino cherries, if desired.

Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Don’t over-bake cookies. Let cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield:  Apx. 2½ dozen

Marvelous Melting Moments Recipe

Yield: Apx. 2 1/2 dozen

A delightful melt-in-your mouth shortbread-type cookie with a rich and tender crumb.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Maraschino cherries for decorations (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter. Add the icing sugar and cream well with the butter. Mix in vanilla.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture and blend until well incorporated.
  4. Form dough into small round balls (apx. 5/8 oz dough per ball). Place balls on prepared baking sheets and flatten each ball with the tines of a fork. Decorate with small bits of maraschino cherries, if desired.
  5. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Don’t over-bake cookies. Let cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
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Shortbread
Melting Moments
Melting Moments
Marvelous Melting Moments

 

For another great Christmas cookie recipe, try my Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Sugar and spice and everything nice!  That pretty much sums up the smell in the kitchen when these cookies are baking.  These cookies have a lovely blend of spices that make them a real taste treat, especially with a tall glass of cold milk.

Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies

The key to keeping these cookies a bit on the chewy side is not to overbake them.  Otherwise, they get crisp and hard and more resemble a thick gingersnap.  These are almost always a staple in my freezer since they freeze so well. Good treat any time of the year.

Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies

Ingredients:

6 tbsp shortening
6 tbsp butter
¾ cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup molasses

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp soda
1/8 tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger
¾ tsp cloves
Pinch mace

Sugar for dusting cookies

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter together. Beat in sugar. Add egg. Beat well. Blend in molasses.

Sift dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture.

Form dough into 1¼ “ balls and place approximately 2” apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten with fork tines. Dust cookies lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Yield: Apx. 3 dozen

Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies

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Molasses Spice Cookies

Yield: Apx. 3 dozen

A soft and chewy molasses cookie that combines a tasty blend of spices

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp shortening
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ginger
  • ¾ tsp cloves
  • Pinch mace

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, cream shortening and butter together. Beat in sugar. Add egg. Beat well. Blend in molasses.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture.
  4. Form dough into 1¼ “ balls and place approximately 2” apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten with fork tines. Dust cookies lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
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Molasses Spice Cookies
Molasses Spice Cookies

 

DSC_0881

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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Gingersnaps

Wafer thin and crisp, these old-fashioned Gingersnaps are flavored with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Good spicy warmth of the wonderful tastes and scents of the Christmas season. A holiday classic!
Course Snack
Keyword cookies, icebox cookies, Christmas cookies
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • cups flour
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. Into medium-sized saucepan, combine molasses, brown sugar, and margarine. Over medium-low heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring regularly to prevent scorching.
  3. Remove from heat. Add soda and stir well. Cool mixture to room temperature.
  4. Add egg yolk to cooled mixture. Stir well.
  5. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and mix into wet ingredients to make a stiff dough. Stir well to combine.
  6. Turn dough onto wax paper and roll and shape into two logs each about 2½” - 3” in diameter. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap. Chill for 24 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove cookie logs from refrigerator and unwrap. Using a very sharp knife, slice each log into 1/8” slices and place about 1” apart on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. 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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Old-fashioned Gingersnaps

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.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

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!

1-DSC_0694

Chocolate Drop Cookies

Chocolate lovers will love these easy-to-make rich Chocolate Drop Cookies with their slightly chewy interior
Course Cookies
Keyword chocolate cookies, cookies,
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With electric mixer, beat shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.
  3. Into separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake 10-11 minutes. Do not overbake or cookies will be dry. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 dozen

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Chocolate Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookies

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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.

Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies

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!

Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies

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.

Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies

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’.

Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies

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.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla

1¾ 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 350F.

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)

Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

The combination of bright red jam or jelly and a tender, soft, and butter crumb make these Brown Sugar Jam-filled Cookies a real treat!

Course Sweet Treats
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Favorite jam or jelly

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and assemble ingredients. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, and cardamom. Set aside.
  3. Chop the cherries and nuts and set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla.
  5. On slow "stir" speed, stir in dry ingredients just until combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Remove bowl from stand and stir in the cherries and nuts.
  7. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. With thumb, press indent into center of each cookie. Fill with ¼ - ½ tsp of favorite jam or jelly.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe Notes

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

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Filled Cookies
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

 

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May 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.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cherry Winks

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shortening or butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, unbeaten, room temperature
4 tbsp milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose 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?

Cherry Winks

Cherry Winks are a cookie jar favorite! Cookies are coated in crushed cornflake crumbs and topped with a cherry. Both showy and tasty!
Course Snack
Keyword cherry winks, cookies,
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup shortening or butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, unbeaten (room temperature)
  • 4 tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • apx. 2½ - 3 cups cornflakes
  • apx. 15 maraschino cherries, blotted dry in paper towel, and cut into quarters

Instructions

  1. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Crush cornflake crumbs by placing in a sealed ziplock bag and crushing with a rolling pin.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 4 dozen cookies.

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Cherry Winks
Cherry Winks

 

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March 2013 Cookie of the Month: Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Chocolate Drop Cookies Made with Stout
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies Made with Stout

Well, for my Cookie of the Month for March, I tried to find out if there is a cookie recipe that traces its origins to Ireland or, alternatively, a cookie that is particularly popular on the Emerald Isle.  However, I had no luck in tracking down any (maybe it was lack of Irish luck!).  If any of you know of a traditional Irish cookie, please do share the information.

I decided to create a special recipe and give it a distinctly Irish flavour using stout in honour of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  As you know, whenever possible, I like to feature Island products in my cooking and baking.  PEI does have one brewing company that produces stout – The Island Brewing Company produces Gahan Sydney Street Stout.  However, it is apparently a limited edition and is not available in local liquor stores year-round — at least I couldn’t track down any.  So, instead, I opted to use Montreal-brewed St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout because it boasts hints of espresso and chocolate.  I knew I was going to be making a chocolate cookie with a hint of coffee flavour so a stout with both chocolate and coffee flavour could only enhance the cookie’s taste.  Like any ingredient, moderation is the trick.  My goal was to flavour the cookie with the stout and bring out the chocolate flavour – I wasn’t aiming for a beer-tasting cookie.  Therefore, I used only 1 1/2 tablespoons of stout as part of the liquid ingredients.

For the chocolate, I chose to use semi-sweet squares of chocolate because I find their flavour a bit more intense than powdered cocoa.  Using some brewed coffee gives these cookies a distinct mocha flavour.  For interest, color, and texture, I used swirled milk and white chocolate chips.

This dough does well when it is chilled and allowed to “rest” for 24 hours after mixing and before baking the cookies.  The purpose of letting the dough “rest” is to allow the liquid ingredients, including the egg, to get fully incorporated and absorbed into the other ingredients.  The “resting” period makes for a drier and firmer cookie dough and this controls its spread while baking so you don’t end up with a really flat cookie.

The chilled dough, though, will be really hard making it next to impossible to use a cookie scoop (I know as I have already gone through two of them!) to form the cookies into shapes for baking.  Cookie scoops are great to make uniform-sized and shaped cookies; however, dropping the cookies by teaspoons on to the baking sheet also works well.

I like the drop cookies to be soft and somewhat chewy and, of course, the key to that texture is to slightly underbake the cookies – bake these no more than 10-12 minutes at 350F and let them cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp. cold brewed coffee
1 1/2 tbsp stout
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Cream butter and shortening.

Add brown and white sugars.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat until blended.

 In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, mix coffee, stout, milk, and vanilla.  Stir to combine.  Add to mixture.  Mix well.

Add melted chocolate and mix to blend.

Combine dry ingredients.  Add to mixture and stir just until flour is incorporated.

 

Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 24 hours.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies.  Bake at 350F oven for 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

 

 

 

 

These make a fine treat for St. Patrick’s Day (but are just as good any time of the year!)

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

These Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies are both tasty and showy. Flavoured with a wee bit of stout. A treat anytime but especially good for a St. Patrick's Day treat!
Course Snack
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. cold brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 tbsp stout
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate melted
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. Cream butter and shortening.
  3. Add brown and white sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until blended.
  4. In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, mix coffee, stout, milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add to mixture. Mix well.
  5. Add melted chocolate and mix to blend.
  6. Combine dry ingredients. Add to mixture and stir just until flour is incorporated.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 24 hours.
  8. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake at 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

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Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

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February 2013 Cookie of the Month – Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies

My choice of Cookie of the Month for February 2013 is the old-fashioned sugar cookie.  These are one of the plainest cookies yet they have endured throughout time and are often counted amongst the favorites in many families.  These cookies are aptly named given the amount of sugar in them in proportion to the amounts of other ingredients.  Despite the amount of sugar in most sugar cookie recipes, they are not really an overly sweet or rich cookie. 

Growing up on PEI, sugar and molasses cookies were a standard staple in many Island homes.  My grandmothers always had them on hand yet their cookies varied significantly because, of course, they used different recipes and probably some different ingredients or proportions.  One grandmother always made round cookies while the other always cut her cookies into squares.  One made soft cookies while the other made cookies that were quite hard.

I remember visiting one grandmother and, as soon as I’d get in the door, I’d always ask for cookies to which the response was ‘you don’t have to ask, just go and help yourself’.  I’d trot into her pantry and there were always two large cookie tins on the counter – one for molasses cookies and the other for sugar cookies.  I’d return to the kitchen to find Gramma, with a big, happy smile on her face, having taken up her position in her Boston rocker beside the stove, waiting for me to occupy the companion rocker and have a visit.  I’d rock away munching on the cookies — a sugar in one hand and a molasses cookie in the other — and we’d chat about this and that and nothing in particular.  I think it made her day to have me pop in for a visit and to see little fingers fishing cookies out of the tins!  I never remember visiting that there weren’t cookies in those tins!  Gramma really was a cookie-type grandmother!  Great memories!

 

Sugar Cookies and Hot Cocoa
Sugar Cookies and Hot Cocoa

Both molasses and sugar cookies were considered wholesome and substantial cookies that didn’t take ingredients homemakers would not be likely to have in their pantries.  So, they were quite an economical cookie to make.  No matter the recipe, sugar cookies have common ingredients – some kind of fat (butter, shortening, or lard), sugar (white or brown or a combination), eggs, flour, leavening agent (baking soda, cream of tartar, and/or baking powder), vanilla, and often a small quantity of milk.  Sugar cookies can be rolled and cut into desired shapes or they can be drop cookies, depending on the recipe used.

The recipe I use is for rolled sugar cookies.  They are neither soft nor hard.  The  batter is quite dense.  These cookies hold their shape well.  I chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling it out and then chill the cut cookies on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before baking them.  This helps to contain their shape and keep them from spreading.  I add just small amounts of two spices – cardamom and nutmeg —  not enough to change them from sugar to spice cookies but sufficient to give the flavour a bit of complexity for the taste buds.  I also add the seeds from one-half of a vanilla bean as well as 1 tsp pure vanilla.  I like the flavour from the vanilla bean seeds and I especially like the little black specks in the appearance of the cookie.  My recipe calls for butter but some will use half shortening and half butter.  Butter, of course, will make a richer cookie.

The key to baking cookies that will determine if they are soft or hard is the baking time.  For softer, more chewy cookies, remove them from the oven when they are ever-so-slightly undercooked.

So, on this blustery and stormy day when PEI is getting pummeled with a good old-fashioned “Nor-easter” snow storm, and the Island is virtually shut down, I introduce you to my old-fashioned sugar cookies.

 

Old-fashioned Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Method:

Preheat oven to 375F

Using the tip of a sharp knife, split open the vanilla bean lengthwise.  Using the edge of the knife blade , scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add milk, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds.  Beat just until combined.

In separate bowl, combine and stir flour, cream of tartar, soda, salt, cardamon, and nutmeg.  Add to liquid ingredients and stir just until flour mixture is combined with liquid ingredients.

Chill dough for 1-2 hours.

On floured surface, gather dough together and roll out dough to a scant 1/4″ thickness.  Cut into desired shapes.

Decorate with raisins and/or sprinkle of sugar, if desired.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheets about 1 1/2″ apart.  Chill cookies in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.  Remove and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen – 2 5/8″ cookies.  Yield will vary depending on size of cookie cutters used.

Store cookies in an airtight container and keep at room temperature or store in freezer.

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Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies