I love the holidays, covid or not, because of all the baking! I absolutely adore having a seasonal reason to bake and there’s nothing that cheers me up more than some lovely Christmas cookies. I always make a ton of cookies from different recipes around the holidays and these are the results of my latest experiment! I’m so lucky that this recipe worked out, it’s from the Wall Street Journal and I have NOT had good luck with some of their recipes. This past year, I’ve had a hard time with snicker-doodles and these were a perfect recipe for someone who regularly messes up the more delicate snickerdoodle. I love the spices mixed into the dough for snicker-doodles and this recipe provides the same spices with a bit more of a punch. The article that I got the recipe from described them as Jamaican snicker-doodles but I would describe them more like gingerbread snicker-doodles. They’re hardier cookies and the article recommended shipping these out to relatives as they would hold up better in the shipping process. I would have shipped some out had any made it out of my kitchen! They were so delicious that my family and I ate them all up within the week. I’m excited to make this recipe for many years to come, it’s amazing!
This recipe makes about twenty four cookies and the original recipe recommended doing 3 ounce dough balls for the cookies. I halved that amount to about 1.5 ounces per cookie and found that the smaller size works better for me. 3 ounce cookies would have been too big for my family and I but it may be just the right size for some! The true star of the recipe is the spices but we cannot neglect the hidden hero, cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is a byproduct from wine-making and it’s a chalky powder that winemakers will scrape from their barrels after they’ve removed the wine. Cream of tartar acts as an acid, balancing out the spreading tendency of the sugar and butter, and keeps the cookie together in the baking process. If a recipe calls for cream of tartar, if you don’t have any, go get some. It’s not worth it to try and substitute another acid like lemon juice, it just doesn’t work right. I am speaking from personal experience because I attempted to substitute lemon juice in several batches of snicker-doodles and they spread horrifically. I had to scrape the cookies off the baking tray and was very distraught. But we all fail during baking and I’m taking advantage of this never ending year to try and branch out in my baking despite the potential for failure. So I hope that you have some cream of tartar at home and can make these cookies for yourself and your family this holiday season! Happy baking!
Bulla Cookie Recipe
For the Dough
330 grams (2 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
297 grams (1 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
54 grams (1/4 cup) light brown sugar (if using cups, pack the sugar down)
2 large eggs
For the Sugar Topping
99 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
To make the dough, first combine the dry ingredients (from flour down to ground pepper). Mix well with a fork.
Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes in a mixer and longer by hand. Scrape the bowl and mix again for less than a minute. Beat in eggs one at a time until mixed completely.
Add in dry ingredients in one or two additions to the butter/sugar mix. Mix on low until just incorporated, try not to over mix.
Scoop out dough, about 1.5 oz each, and roll into a ball. Grease several containers and place the dough inside. Cover and refrigerate at least 3-4 hours, ideally chilling overnight. The dough can also be frozen at this stage as well and it keeps for 3 months in the freezer.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and make the sugar topping by combining all the ingredients. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Roll cookies in sugar topping and make sure they are completely coated. Place on sheets with at least 2 or 3 inches in between cookies and bake 10-14 minutes. (If your oven runs cold, bake 14 minutes) If baking from frozen, bake an additional 2-3 minutes but be sure to watch the cookies to prevent them burning.
Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack and enjoy! They stay good for 5 days in a airtight container.
These cookies are a little more laborious than my preferred cookie recipes but it is totally worth it! I’ve never made button or thumbprint cookies but I thought I’d give it a try! I was super pleased with the way that these came out! Normally, molasses and other liquid sweeteners like honey have a tendency to spread the dough as it bakes and it can create really moist but very flat cookies. These cookies are fantastic and moist but hold their shape very well. I think they’re really cute and they’d make a great cookie for a holiday cookie exchange once we don’t have to worry about covid-19.
The trick here is the two-hour chill in between making the dough and baking it. It may be tough to wait if you’re impatient like me but I found that taking a nice long walk made the two hours pass by in a breeze! The cookie also uses two different kinds of sugar, brown and turbinado or raw sugar. The difference is that the “raw” sugar comes in large, golden crystals that the dough is rolled in at the end to create a distinctive “sparkle” on the outside. Rolling them in the “raw” sugar is an easy way to give them a little pizzaz. This “raw” sugar is available in most grocery stores in the baking aisle, you just may have to hunt for it a little bit. I also filled these cookies with two different fillings. If you look closely at the pictures, there’s a slight color difference that gives it away. For about half, I used leftover chocolate ganache from my Chocolate Cake recipe from a couple weeks back. For the other half, I used the filling from the recipe. Below, I’ve doubled this amount because the original recipe amount only filled half of my cookies… They’re easy to overfill so go easy on the filling at first, you can always go back in and refill if needed. I hope that you find this recipe as delectable as I did and happy baking!
Spiced Molasses Chocolate Buttons Recipe
For the Dough
195 grams (1 1/2 cup +2 tablespoons) All Purpose flour
35 grams (6 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
142 grams (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
106 grams (1/2 cup packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
85 grams (1/4 cup) molasses
100 grams turbinado sugar to coat
For the filling
57 grams (1/3 cup) bittersweet chocolate (I used semisweet chocolate chips and it seemed to not be too sweet)
28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon molasses
Sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and all spice in a medium bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy in a separate, large bowl. Beat in the egg until well mixed then add and mix in the molasses.
In two additions, mix together the dry and wet ingredients in the larger bowl until well-blended. Scrape the bowl then refrigerate the dough in the bowl for two hours. To retain the moisture, cover with cling wrap.
When ready to bake, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.
Pour turbinado sugar onto a plate or bowl. Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop and portion the dough into balls. Roll in the sugar until covered completely. Place on the baking sheet about 1 1/2 inch apart. (They spread while baking but not by much)
Bake until set around the edges but still soft in the middle, 10 or 11 minutes depending on the strength of your over. Remove from oven and using a spoon, create a deep indent in the middle of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake 5-6 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pans on a wire rack.
To make the filling, place the chocolate and butter together in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave in thirty second intervals until melted. Mix well between intervals (I have a terrible microwave and it only took me a minute to melt it) Once melted and mixed together, stir in the molasses.
Transfer the filling to a ziplock bag or a pastry bag. Snip a corner off the ziplock bag and fill each cookie. Let sit at room temperature until the filling is firm. Enjoy!
Oh my gosh is it shortbread??? Again?? When does the obsession with shortbread end you may ask??? My answer at the moment is never!!! As a kid, I really hated the short texture in cookies where they just crumbled apart in my hands. I always preferred my cookies soft and honestly, I still like my chocolate chip cookies a little under baked so that they stay soft for days! However, I think shortbread reminds me so much of the Great British Baking Show and I refuse to watch the newest season without my mother present, so I’m compensating by making as much shortbread as humanly possible. Shortbread is also a celebration of simplicity with a huge flavor packed inside each cookie! I never appreciated nuance in my cookie but I’m really starting to, especially with the quantity of cookies that I’ve been making lately!
I actually made this recipe about a week before I choose to post about it because I wanted some time to experiment with the recipe a little bit. This recipe is originally from King Arthur Flour where it was credited to Alyssa Rimmer of Simply Quinoa! So you can thank Ms. Rimmer for the original recipe and myself for a few modifications. When I made it the first time, it was really heavy on the cinnamon and pecan but lighter on the maple. I had chosen these cookies for their maple flavoring and was disappointed when they didn’t deliver as much punch as hoped for in the maple department. As much as I complained about it not going as perfectly as I wanted, my boyfriend still taste-tested as many as he could get his hands on! So obviously, there are fans of the original recipe but I’ll be putting my variations next to the recipe below. I replaced the confectioners sugar with maple sugar and doubled the amount of salt. I thought it was missing salt from the original recipe but a doubled amount may be too salty for some. These are also a super quick cookie to throw together, so the opportunities to modify the recipe just a tad to your taste are only limited by your quantities of the ingredients! Let me know what you think of recipe or any of the modifications in the comments below! Happy baking!
I am so excited to finally have maple shortbread cookies that have worked! For several weeks, I’ve been baking and baking trying to find a good maple shortbread recipe. I’ve never been the biggest fan of shortbread but I’ve recently become absolutely obsessed with the crumbly crunch of these cookies. They remind me a lot of the Great British Baking Show because they seem so quintessentially British. For several weeks, I’ve been trying recipes with various levels of success. I’ve added maple syrup to several recipes to try and emulate that maple flavor without much success. Using maple syrup as a sweetener in a recipe is a lot like using molasses in the way that it adds the moisture and causes the cookies to spread. Maple syrup isn’t a good sweetener for shortbread because it adds a moistness to the cookie that is great for a cake but not so great for a cookie that you want to be very short or crisp. Below is a photo from one of my early experiments. The cookies were delicious but they definitely were not shortbread. They were a joy to eat but not quite what I was aiming for so I decided to try again with a recipe from King Arthur’s Flour.
When I was researching maple shortbread recipes, I came across quite a few that used maple sugar, something that I had never heard off. I looked it up online and even on Amazon, a one pound bag of the stuff sells for around $8!!!! That’s more than I pay for a five pound bag of flour!!! I kept digging and found out exactly what maple sugar is which is the crystallized sugar granules from maple syrup! Being an adventurous baker, I set out to make my own maple sugar from syrup and it turned out really well! You definitely need a candy thermometer to check temperatures but equipped properly, you can have a good quantity of maple sugar in minutes. The process is dangerously simple; you heat the maple syrup in a pot until it reaches about 50-60 degrees above its boiling point. From there, you beat it (by hand or with a stand mixer which is easier) until it crystallizes. Because I have a bit more experience and I can be a little reckless, I decided to do this and came up with about a fourth a cup of maple sugar! I would NOT recommend an amateur baker doing this but it can be done in a pinch if needed. Buying it is definitely easier and safer! If you feel that you have enough experience, look up instructions online and enjoy! I thought it was very fun!
This recipe is adapted from one from King Arthur Flour that actually makes maple shortbread sandwich cookies. My goal was to try and get the maple shortbread nailed before I started doing more complex stuff so my recipe only includes the shortbread dough. I used two different techniques for rolling out the dough. One was a traditional roll and cut out with cookie cutter while the other was using a cookie stamp. My mother gave me a beautiful pinecone cookie stamp for Christmas this past year and I’ve been dying to use it. This recipe gave me a great opportunity to try it and I think it came out very well for a first attempt! Either method you choose to use, I would roll to dough out to about 1/4 of an inch thick. I think it makes for a more satisfying cookie and it holds the shape much better. I hope you enjoy baking these as much as I did!
131 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) All Purpose flour
Beat together the butter, salt, sugars, and vanilla extract/maple flavor.
Add flour and mix until the dough comes together.
Wrap in cling wrap and chill for thirty minutes if using a cookie cutter. Chill for 2 hours if using a cookie stamp.
Preheat oven to 300F and line a cookie sheet
Cookie Cutters: If using, roll dough out to 1/4″ thick and flour the cutter. Cut out cookies and place on lined sheet.
Cookie Stamps: If using, remove tablespoon scoops from the chilled dough and roll into a ball. Lightly flour both the dough ball and the cookie stamp. Place the dough ball on flour and press down with the cookie stamp. Gently peel the cookie out of the stamp and place on lined sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of the cookie or until the cookies just begin to brown.
Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet.
Once cooled, eat and enjoy!
A comment made by my boyfriend is that the texture is similar to pie crust. If I end up using it as piecrust, I’ll let you know how it goes! The recipe can also be easily doubled for more cookies. They store well in an air tighter container for several days and the dough/cookie can be frozen.
These were a lovely shortbread recipe that came together in a matter of minutes! These cookies did need quite a while to cool in the fridge so factor that in when you’re planning on making them and make sure that you have plenty of fridge space for all the cookies! I decided to make these after a particularly bad baking day last week. I talked with one of my best friends in the whole world for an hour or two over FaceTime and she inspired me to bake these! I had been wanting to make a lemony dessert for some time; I haven’t been able to let go of the summery feeling that lemons bring and decided to capitalize on this. I grabbed a lemon at the store and was able to make do with what else I had at home. I really loved how crisp and short that these turned out! I haven’t had a ton of luck with shortbread in the past but these were great cookies to start with.
The recipe only calls for a teaspoon or two of lemon zest but I ended up zesting a whole lemon into the dough and it wasn’t too much for me. The dough, sans the lemon zest, is actually a great shortbread base that could be added to to make a ton of different kinds of shortbread. I’ll be experimenting with this in the future so I’ll keep you all posted if I find a good derivative of this recipe for another flavor. The dough also held its shape really well after being rolled out and chilled. I’ve had issues with this in the past and it’s made me wary of using some of my trickier cookie cutouts but go wild here! The cookies will hold so find your craziest cookie cutter and get baking! Let me know in the comments below how it works out for you and happy baking!
Lemon Shortbread Recipe
113 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature (indents when you poke it)
29 grams (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons packed lemon zest (I zest the whole lemon but I love lemon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 grams (1 cup) All Purpose flour
pinch of kosher salt (between 1/8 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon)
Granulated sugar for rolling
Line two baking sheets. (The dough can be made 3 days in advance and just chill in the fridge until needed)
Beat together butter and powdered sugar. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla extract
Beat in flour and kosher salt and beat until just blended.
Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and press into a disk. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Place plastic-wrapped disk into the fridge and chill until firm, 20-30 minutes
Position a rack in the top and bottom third of the oven and preheat oven to 350F.
Transfer dough from plastic wrap onto a sugared surface. It replicates the non-stick that flour helps with but coats the dough deliciously.
Cut out shapes in the dough with a cookie cutter or lid of a mason jar or with the lid of a clean drinking glass.
Place cut outs on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and chill for 10 minutes. Coat lightly with sugar before putting them back in the fridge.
Bake cookies until light brown, 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully, the cookies around the edge of the cookie sheet with brown faster.
As the school year has started, I’ve been baking up a storm and am loving it! I’m hoping to come out with a book review in a week or so but I’m finishing up a monster of a book that I’ve been reading intermittently since April! While I finish that up, I thought I could distract you all with yet another delicious cookie recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour. Now, for my friends out there who are allergic to nuts, this recipe may not be for them but I always encourage recipe substitutions in the name of creativity so if anyone finds a good peanut or nut free alternative to the peanut butter in the recipe, let me know if the comments below! I was inspired to look for cookie recipes so that I could share some with my godmother Sue, who has been very kind in testing out several of my blog recipes.
This was a relatively simple recipe, I didn’t run into any huge logistical or recipe errors which is great! The recipe requires butter to be at room temp and unlike the brown sugar and maple cookies, the butter can be microwaved thirty seconds to forty five seconds to soften it. The recipe will be quite stiff with the peanut butter addition so the butter can be almost melted if you need to microwave it. To make these cookies less stiff, the recipe calls for a tablespoon or two of water. You could even add another tablespoon if you need to and don’t be alarmed when the dough gets really stiff after you mix all the ingredients together.
I normally mix my dry and wet goods separately but I know that some people along with myself sometimes just throw everything in the bowl and mix. In this recipe, try to use two separate bowls for wet and dry goods if you can because the peanut butter will cause everything to stick together and not mix well. Final note is that I used chocolate chips in the cookies because they were all I had on hand. They do taste great in the cookies but you don’t get as much peanut butter without using the peanut butter cups recommended by the original recipe. So if you like a more chocolate than peanut butter, use chips but if you love that PB then go find some mini peanut butter cups to use! I hope that you enjoy this recipe and follow any of the above mentioned tips!
So these were made on the same week as my catastrophic blue soup. It was a week that felt like nothing would go right for me in the kitchen but I kept going! These cookies were absolutely scrumptious and if they had stayed in my kitchen, I may have devoured the lot. These cookies are warm and inviting with a little glaze on top to tickle the tastebuds. It hasn’t really felt like fall much here in Baltimore with the heat, but compared to CA it’s a veritable igloo over here! This recipe is from the Los Angeles Times Food section from about a month ago that I saved until I needed a little dose of fall.
So even though they turned out delicious in the end, there were some technical issues to be aware of as you try this recipe! I did not have enough butter on hand when I was making the recipe and substituted in some margarine which worked well. However, I did microwave the butter briefly because I hadn’t left it out long enough to soften. The microwaving made the margarine too soft and while I was able to mix the cookies up just fine, the batter was much softer than I would have liked. Before I scooped it, I froze the dough for twenty minutes which is good practice whenever you have really slack or soft cookie dough. Once baked, the cookies tasted fine but went soft pretty quickly. This recipe calls for a glaze which can add moisture to the cookies. If you prefer crunchier cookies, bake for an addition minute or two but watch carefully. The high sugar content from the brown sugar and maple syrup means that these cookies can catch or burn in the oven really quickly. A note on the glaze, mine wasn’t particularly white colored but to make a more solid glaze, you can add teaspoons of powdered sugar until it reaches the appropriate consistency and color that you prefer. I hope you enjoy and be sure to check out the Lost Angeles Times Food section on Sundays; it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the newspaper and the writers work really hard on perfecting these recipes!
Brown Sugar and Maple Cookie Recipe
For the Cookie:
240 grams (2 cups) All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
170 grams (3/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
213 grams (1 cup) packed dark brown sugar (light is fine as well)
78 grams (1/4 cup) pure maple syrup
1 large egg, room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Glaze
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
1 Tablespoon Water
1/2 cup packed powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 375F and line 3 cookie sheets (I used two and rotated their use but they are supposed to cook a little extra on the sheets once out of the oven so try to have 3)
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the softened butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the syrup and beat until incorporated then beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well-blended.
Add flour mix and fold in gently until no trace of flour remains. If your dough seems really slack at this point, freeze for 10-20 minutes or until it hardens enough to scoop
Using a tablespoon measuring tool or a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop dough onto the sheets with at least 2 inches of space around each cookie. They will spread in the oven.
Bake each sheet for 12 minutes or until golden dark brown. Cool completely on the cookie sheets on wire racks.
In a small bowl, stir together the glaze ingredients. Taste and add additional salt as needed. Once cookies are completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top. Try to wait to eat them until the glaze hardens on the cookies.
So these cookies owe their inspiration to my lovely friend, Hannah. We were video chatting the other day and she talked about all the lovely things that she’s been making with her gluten free sourdough starter! It put me in the mood to make something but I had less than an hour before my next class so it had to be something quick. Hannah suggested banana bread, a quarantine classic, but I’m embarrassingly behind on my grocery shopping and didn’t have much around. I didn’t set out to make a gluten-free recipe but it was the easiest and quickest with the ingredients I had available. The recipe has five ingredients, most of which you’ll probably have in your pantry. I always have almond flour around because I make macarons frequently but it’s not a hard ingredient to find in most grocery stores.
Now for the tips and tricks with this recipe! This made about 17 bite size cookies and I had to hold myself back from eating most of them! The cookies aren’t very big and the batch size is small so feel free to scale up the recipe to fit your needs. However, I wouldn’t adjust the size of the cookies. Even with using melted butter, these cookies are VERY short/crumbly. This is due to the use of almond flour and makes a very easy crumbly cookie. If they were made any larger, they would probably collapse under their own weight when picked up. The cross-hatching is also super easy to do with a fork, no special equipment required! This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website and on it, they have several variations for the flavor of the cookie including chocolate/pistachio and maple/pecan. I would start with the basic recipe and expand on that! Even if you wanted to try all the different flavor variations, it wouldn’t take more than an afternoon. So get busy and get baking!
Almond Flour Cookie Recipe
96 grams (1 cup) almond flour
43 grams (3 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature or softened
21 grams (3 tablespoons) powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet.
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms.
Scoop out 1 inch balls of dough using a teaspoon cookie scoop and arrange on the sheet. Leave out an inch and a half of room between dough balls.
Use a fork to flatten each cookie, making a cross hatch design on top.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until they turn light brown on top (My oven took about 12 minutes)
Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer them to a rack to completely cool before eating.