nutella sandwich cookies

Despite the beauty of technology and the ability I have to catalog and cross-reference all my recipes online, I still keep a big, honkin’ three-ring binder full of recipes I collect from various places.  I don’t know why.  I guess I’m a tactile kind of person.  I need the tangible product; the book, the magazine, the sheet of paper.

With some regularity, I add to the file, or go through it for inspiration I’m just not finding on the internet.  That’s hard to believe given how much great cooking and baking there is out there in the vastness of the web.  Anyway, being in an old-school kind of mood, I was flipping through clippings the other day looking for something to bake.  I haven’t baked in a while.  It’s summer.  It’s hot.  I swore not to turn my oven on until October.

But I have yet to master baking on the grill.  And we needed something to occupy us as the days of summer wind down and the start of school looms.  And what better way to take a little girl’s mind off the looming start of school than by baking.  With Nutella!!!!

These cookies are simple and delicious and it’s taking all the willpower I can muster not to eat more than one.  A day, that is.  They’re brownie-like and chewy and that Nutella center is heavenly.

I like Nutella.  A lot!  Eat them with milk icy cold from the fridge.  Enjoy!
2013-07-31

2013-07-312

DSC_0256

2013-07-313

Nutella Sandwich Cookies (recipe courtesy Radically Simple)

Ingredients:

  • 13-ounce jar Nutella
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising cake flour (I used regular self-rising flour)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  Beat together 3/4 cup of the Nutella, butter, and egg.  Slowly add the flour until a wet dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently, adding more flour if necessary; the dough will be sticky.  Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll each into a perfect ball, flouring your hands as you go.  Place several inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake 10 – 12 minutes, until firm.  Cool 10 minutes on the sheet.

Using a serrated knife, split each cookie in half horizontally.  Spread each bottom half with 1 tsp Nutella.  Replace the tops, pressing lightly.

Serve!

platedcookies©zouptonuts

***Baker’s Notes:  On the baking time, err toward the lower end.  My first batch stayed in closer to 12 minutes and I thought they were a little harder to slice in half because they were crisper.  For a softer cookie, I’d recommend 10 minutes.  Also, next time I’d use all-purpose flour on my hands to roll them into balls.  Self-rising flour contains salt and rolling them with the self-rising flour gave the outer part of the cookie a hint of salty flavor.  That’s not a bad thing if you like the sweet/salty combination.  Just a head’s up to anyone who would rather not taste a hint of salt in their cookie.

Advertisements

cocoa fudge cookies

Two or three times a year we have a “movie night” in our cul-de-sac.  A neighbor has an inflatable outdoor projection screen.  They stream Netflix  through their iPhone and….well, I don’t know how all the techie stuff works, but I do know I got to watch Cars II on a gorgeous spring evening with a lot of other families and their kids, noshing all sorts of tasty treats.  That’s one of the rules:  bring a treat to pass!  There’s never a shortage of food…or wine, for that matter!

This time around we opted to bring cookies.  I was scanning the contents of my pantry and spotted the unsweetened cocoa, which became my inspiration ingredient because I’m always looking for an excuse to add cocoa to baked goods.  A quick Google search turned up these little lovelies from Cooking Light.  I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they baked up thin and crispy because the picture provided with the recipe clearly presented a thin cookie.  But I was surprised to bite into one and discover, between the crisp exterior, an almost brownie-like inside.  Thin, yes, but soft and chewy and nicely contrasting to the original texture.

These cookies were delicious on their own and perfect for dunking, but given their crispy outsides I think they’d also be perfect for making a sandwich cookie.  Maybe even an ice cream sandwich-type cookie.  I didn’t try it, but I would think the outer cookie would hold up nicely if you added a layer of ice cream after they’ve cooled completely.  Serve immediately, of course.  Cookies and ice cream are not meant to be eaten slowly.  Enjoy!

Cocoa Fudge Cookies (courtesy Cooking Light, January 2002)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

cocoa_cookies©zouptonuts

Nutritional Information (provided by Cooking Light):

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 78
  • Calories from fat: 31%
  • Fat: 2.7g
  • Saturated fat: 1.6g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrate: 13.4g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 7mg
  • Iron: 0.5mg
  • Sodium: 54mg
  • Calcium: 12mg

lemon ricotta cookies

I was back in Michigan a few weeks ago and a good friend invited me for dinner, as she always does when I’m in town.  I never say no.  First, because she’s an amazing woman and I love spending time with her and her husband.  Second, she’s a freaking amazing cook!!!  Dinner was fabulous, as always, but the pièce de résistance was the cookie.  I kid you not, the cookie made me nearly forget a spectacular dinner.  That’s how good it was.

It was soooo good, I was still dreaming about it when I got back to Arizona four days later.  Blessed as we are in the desert with an abundance of citrus trees, and blessed as we are with generous neighbors who leave boxes of fresh citrus in their yard for the taking, it wasn’t long before I was in possession of some big, bright, beautiful lemons.  Not the scrawny, juice-less grocery store variety.  I’m talking about big, fat, tree-ripened fruit that leaves the heady scent of lemon in your palms when you roll them gently in your hands.

The best thing to do with lemons like that is to find a recipe that uses as much of the lemony goodness as possible.  The lemon ricotta cookie recipe does just that.  It calls for lots of fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons.  Seriously!  If you love lemon like I love lemon, you’re going to adore these.  The cookie is very cake-like: soft and moist, and full of lemon flavor.  The icing is just a flavor explosion in your mouth.  That’s weird, but it’s the only way I can think of to describe it.  The sweetness of the powdered sugar is complimented beautifully by the tart lemon juice, and it’s speckled with pretty yellow flecks of color from the zest of an entire lemon.  Heaven, I tell you!!

My husband ate one the night I baked them and said….no joke, “This might just be the best cookie ever!”  But, you won’t know until you make them yourself.  Enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Recipe Courtesy: Giada De Laurentis and The Food Network

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cookies:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze:

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours before eating.

vanishing oatmeal craisin cookies

If you need a quick cookie to throw together for lunch boxes or after school snacks, these are really good.  I saved this recipe a long time ago from the inside top of a Quaker Rolled Oats container.  The original recipe called for raisins, but I think Craisins have more flavor; a little sweet, a little tart.  They’re a nice contrasting taste with the brown sugar and cinnamon.  The finished cookie baked up moist and chewy and,  honestly, a little bit hard to resist.  Whoever wrote the recipe wasn’t kidding about the “vanishing” part.  Enjoy!

 

Vanishing Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 3 c quick cooking oats, any brand, uncooked
  • 1 c Craisins

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
  5. Stir in oats and Craisins; mix well.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack.  (Makes 4 dozen cookies).

Baker’s Notes:  I halved the recipe.  Seriously…nobody needs 4 dozen cookies! 

old fashioned soft pumpkin cookies

You didn’t think I could give up on pumpkin recipes that easily, did you?  It’s still fall, after all, and I’m taking every advantage to bake things with pumpkin in them before our gorgeous fall/winter desert days slip away.  They’re sort of fleeting; although, as I write this, it’s a chilly (50°), blustery morning and I packed Kat off to school with her winter coat and a pair of gloves.  Perfect pumpkin weather.

We had Thanksgiving last week with some friends and one of my contributions to dinner was a traditional pumpkin pie.  I had about a cup of pumpkin left over and didn’t want it to go to waste.  Since I’m a fanatic about putting homemade baked goods in Kat’s lunchbox, I asked her to help me find a recipe for some pumpkin cookies.  Believe me, that’s no small task.  And all of them looked delicious.

She settled on this one (I think mostly because of the powdered sugar glaze), and they were hand’s down the best choice.  Although the baking portion was time-consuming (15 to 18 minutes per tray), the cookies bake up cakey and soft, and are simply delicious: a perfect treat for lunch boxes, with a cup of coffee, or, better yet…leave a few for Santa!  He’ll be eternally grateful.  The glazing was a fun activity for Kat, too.  I gave her a spoon, some simple instructions, and she had a blast flinging frosting over the cookie tops.  You could also dip the cookies in the glaze if you’re not up for the clean-up of drizzling.  Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
 
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Glaze (recipe follows)

 

 Directions:

 PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium mixing bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

FOR GLAZE:
COMBINE
2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.