Lemon Clove Cookies

Today’s topic: Lemon math.

Baking with produce can be tricky since quantities vary so wildly. One person’s “medium” lemon could be another person’s “small.” And sometimes a piece of produce just doesn’t produce the quantity of juice or zest or whatever that your recipe calls for.

There are all kinds of tables telling you how to convert pieces of produce to volumes of juice. But I usually just over-buy whatever the ingredient is. Recipe calls for 2 lemons? I’m getting 4. Recipe says 3 zucchini? You know I’m buying 5.

A couple weeks ago I found myself with some extra pesky lemon math. I had odd amounts of juice and zest based on the first lemon recipe I made. I started pulling out all my cookbooks to find a solution… and behold! These Lemon Clove Cookies were the answer.

IMG_0018

And wow—what an answer! I never would have thought to pair lemon with cloves. It really, really works! They’ve got a great citrus base with a hint of sweetness and the perfect bit of spiciness. The cloves make these cookies extra comforting—they’re really the perfect tough-day snack.

I froze my batch planning to take them to work, but haven’t managed to do that… so I’m just eating them one-by-one from my freezer. Stick ’em in the microwave for a bit and you’ve got comfort on a plate.

Lemon Clove Cookies

Original recipe: Celebrating the Midwestern Table. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.

Yield: 24 cookies

Suggested equipment: Food processor or a blender, mixer

Total Time: ~ 2 hours

Cook Time: 9-12 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp grated zest. That’s roughly 2 large lemons but… buy extra just in case!
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg

Glaze

  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Make your cookies

  1. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cloves and salt. Set aside.
  2. If you’re using a food processor, fit it with the metal blade. You can also use your blender for this step. Pour in your lemon zest and sugar, and mince the two together until the zest becomes small specks. Now you have lemon sugar!
  3. Use your mixer to cream the butter and lemon sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add your egg, and mix until smooth.
  5. Add in your flour combo and mix well.
  6. Wrap the dough airtight and place in your fridge to chill for about 45 minutes.

Glaze and bake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Get your glaze ready. Use a fork to froth the egg and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Shape your dough into 1 tablespoon balls and place them onto prepared cookie sheets. Press each ball lightly with your fingers to flatten it, then lightly brush glaze over each cookie.
  4. Bake the cookies about 9-12 minutes. Mine took 9 to hit the perfect chewy texture.
  5. Let the cookies cool on their sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

These keep extremely well. Just put them in an airtight container, or pop them in your freezer.

Nutter Butter Oreo Bars

A couple months ago I found myself with an extra package of Nutter Butter cookies. I’d bought them for an event, then didn’t need them, and they were just sitting around in my cupboard, waiting to be baked into something.

So I started searching Pinterest for ideas. I wanted to make some kind of blondie or cookie with little bits of Nutter Butter baked right in. When I saw this Pin from Six Sisters’ Stuff, I knew I had a winner.

And then I remembered that I also had Oreos in my cupboard.

IMG_6060

Enter these Nutter Butter Oreo Bars. Because why stop at one mix-in when you could have two?

These have a lovely blondie base, studded with chocolate chips, Oreos and Nutter Butters. Super simple to make, and a delight in every bite.

I happened to have Chocolate Oreos but you could definitely use regular Oreos, too. I decided to use mini chocolate chips instead of standard sized because I was worried too many big mix-ins might be overpowering. I loved how my mix-in ratio turned out but you could certainly use regular chips if that’s all you’ve got.

Nutter Butter Oreo Bars

Original recipe: Based on this recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

Yield: ~48 bars

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~50 minutes

Cook Time: ~30 minutes

Ingredients

For your blondies

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed into small pieces. Divide your Nutter Butte
  • 8 Oreos, crushed into small pieces

For the topping

  • 2 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed into small pieces. Divide your Nutter Butte
  • 2 Oreos, crushed into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Use a rolling pin or your hands to crush your Nutter Butters and Oreos into small pieces
  3. Use your mixer to cream the butter and sugar
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat until combined
  5. Add in your baking powder, salt and flour. Mix on low until it’s combined.
  6. Mix in your chocolate chips, Nutter Butters and Oreos. You can do this part with a wooden spoon if you’re worried about over-mixing your dough
  7. Grease or line a 9×13 inch pan
  8. Use your hands to press the dough into the pan. Make sure its’s an even layer. If the dough is super sticky, you can spray your hands with cooking spray so it doesn’t stick to you
  9. Sprinkle your topping evenly over the batter (that’s your extra 2 Oreos and 2 Nutter Butters, combined)
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes. You want them to look slightly golden, but the center might still seem a little gooey
  11. Let the bars cool completely in the pan, then use a sharp knife to slice into squares

 

 

Confetti Cookies

IMG_6084I can’t think of a cheerier treat than these sprinkle-splattered cookies. They’re basically an amped up sugar cookie, made way better with a couple simple additions. The dough calls for both butter and cream cheese, which makes your cookies softer and cakier than most sugar cookies out there. You’re also gonna add in some almond extract, which gives the cookies a more more complex flavor than standard sugar cookie fare. Most people can’t tell there’s almond in there… but it definitely makes things tasty.

I made these for a dinner party and they were a truly awesome party pick. The recipe yields tons of cookies, they’re easy to transport and they’re a crowd pleaser. They also keep well: You can store them in a container for a couple days or freeze dough for later. 

The original recipe shared two sets of instructions so you could pick between using a food processor or a mixer. I was already using my mixer for somethin’ else while I baked these, so I used my food processor this time around. If you only have a mixer, check out Smitten Kitchen’s original post for detailed instructions! 

 

Confetti Cookies

Original recipe: Smitten Kitchen

Yield: ~ 4 dozen cookies

Suggested equipment: Food processor or mixer

Total Time: ~An hour

Cook Time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt (you can swap in table salt instead)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (1/4 of an 8 oz brick)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, but definitely recommend using it!)
  • 1 cup sprinkles (Recommend using jimmies like this so they stick better)

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 375F
  2. Assemble your food processor with the metal blade.
  3. Put your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the food processor. Pulse a few times to blend.
  4. Slice your cream cheese and butter into large chunks, then put them in the processor. Blend until the mixture gets powdery.
  5. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract. Run machine until the ingredients form a dough and start to ball together. You should stop to scrape things down a couple times while you mix.
  6. Chill your dough for 20 minutes so it’s easier to roll into balls.
  7. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop your dough into sizeable balls. Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommends using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop to make sure they’re the right size. Make sure your dough balls are about 2 inches apart on the sheet.
  8. Roll each ball in your hands to heat it up a bit. This makes the dough tackier, which makes it easier to roll in sprinkles! Then, drop your ball into the sprinkles and roll it around to coat evenly.
  9. Use the bottom of a glass to press down on each cookie so it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch tall.
  10. Bake for 9-10 minutes. They’ll look a bit underbaked on top, but golden underneath. You want them to be a bit underbaked so they stay soft over time… if you bake these all the way through to start with, they’ll crisp up faster.
  11. Let your cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them over to racks to cool completely.

 

Apple Pie Cookies

I know this is a contentious thing to say on a baking blog, but it needs to be said: I really don’t like pie.

I don’t know what to tell you. The heavy crust and frequently-too-sweet fillings just don’t do it for me. I’ll take a fruit-filled crisp or cake over pie, any day of the week.

But cookies inspired by pie? Yes please, gimme, sign me up.

IMG_5991

These Apple Pie Cookies caught my eye a long time ago and I finally got around to making them this week. What a winner! The base cookie is similar to a snickerdoodle with a cinnamon sugar topping. And then you cook down some spiced apples, and stuff them right inside the cookie. In every bite, you get a bit of crisp cookie shell, a bit of spiced apple and a chewy hit of cookie. As my coworker put it: “It’s like pie, but with a better ratio of crust to filling.”

They’re also more portable than pie, though you’ll want to make sure to carry these babies right-side-up in a sturdy container. Since they have fruit in the middle, they don’t hold their shape as well as some other cookies, and might fall apart in transit if you put them on their sides.

These do take a fair amount of time since you need to prep apples, let your filling cool and go through assembly. I promise they’re worth it!

Apple Pie Cookies

Original recipe: Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~20 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~16 minutes

Ingredients

Apple pie filling 

  • 1 3/4 cups apples—peeled, cored and diced. This takes about 2 medium apples.
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Coating 

  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

Make your filling

  1. Add all your filling ingredients to a medium saucepan (apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter). Stir to combine.
  2. Crank the heat up to medium, and let your pan come to a simmer. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously. You’re good to go when your apples are soft, with a thick syrup around them.
  3. Take your pan off the heat and let your filling cool for a while. You don’t want to stuff hot filling into cookies since the heat could affect your cookie dough. My filling took about 20 minutes to cool, but definitely keep an eye on yours to make sure it’s right before you move onto the next step.

Make your dough

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Use your mixer to cream the butter and shortening together. On medium speed, mix until the two are combined.
  3. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, then mix on medium until it’s light and fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla and one of your eggs. Mix the egg in completely, then add your second egg and mix it all again.
  5. Put your flour, baking powder and salt into the mixer bowl. Mix it on low until the flour starts to get incorporated into your wet ingredients. Then, turn up the speed to medium and make sure everything is completely combined.

Fill, roll and bake 

  1. First, make your cinnamon sugar topping. In a shallow bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon until they’re completely combined.
  2. Scoop some dough from your mixer bowl—I used a couple tablespoons of dough per cookie. Smush the dough a bit so it’s easier to stuff.
  3. Put about 1/4 a teaspoon of filling in the center of your dough, and roll the dough back into a circle. You might want to play around with your filling ratio until it feels right, since it depends a bit on how big you make your cookies.
  4. Roll the dough ball in your cinnamon sugar so it’s completely covered in the topping.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Leave at least an inch between your dough balls so they have space to spread—these will spread quite a bit during baking!
  6. Bake your cookies 12-16 minutes. Mine took the full 16 minutes. Your edges should look set, but the centers will still look a little soft and will firm up as the cookies cool.
  7. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack, then move them into an airtight container for storage.

 

 

Lemon Raspberry “Snickerdoodles”

I have a strangely vivid memory of my first snickerdoodle. Ninth grade, school cafeteria, right after class. I’d never heard of snickerdoodles before, but loved them immediately. Partly because they’re delicious… and partly because the word “snickerdoodle” is really, really fun to say.

IMG_4992

Snickerdoodles stand out from the pack because they’re super chewy, with a bit of a tang that complements a cinnamon top. I’ve made a ton of takes on snickerdoodles over the years, from the classics to apple butter doodles and even a rosemary version. But I’d never thought about applying their approach to a totally non-cinnamon cookie until I saw this recipe from Hummingbird High. Michelle is genius to apply that snickerdoodle style tang and texture to a lemon raspberry flavor combo.

I brought these to work and so many people asked for the recipe, I knew I had to share it here. If you make these, keep a super close eye on the cookies as they bake. The little raspberry bits seem prone to burning, so make sure to get your cookies out of the oven at just the right time!

Lemon Raspberry “Snickerdoodles”

Original recipe: Hummingbird High. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~24 cookies

Suggested equipment: Food processor, mixer

Total Time: About an hour, with cooling time

Cook Time: 8-10 minutes

Ingredients

For the cookies 

  • 1 1/2 cups, minus 1 tbsp granulated sugar (just measure 1 tablespoon out and put it back in your container!)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Zest from one medium lemon
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (It’s important to use kosher salt instead of regular table salt! They’re totally different sizes and impart a different flavor.) 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the topping 

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freeze dried raspberries (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

Instructions

Make your raspberry sugar

Use a food processor to combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the freeze dried raspberries. Pulse the processor until the raspberries get pretty small, and the mixture looks uniform throughout.

 

Make your dough 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F and move a rack to the center of your oven.
  2. Combine your granulated sugar, brown sugar and zest in a small bowl. Use your fingers to toss it all together, then rub the zest into the sugar so it clumps and starts to smell fragrant. This helps release the oils that provide great lemony flavor. Set this aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk your flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and kosher salt.
  4. Throw your sugar mixture into your mixer, then add the butter. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy.
  5. Reduce your mixer speed to its slowest setting, and add the eggs one at a time.
  6. Add your lemon extract, and make sure it’s fully incorporated.
  7. Keeping your mixer on its lowest speed, start adding in the flour mixture. Add it gradually until it’s just combined with the other ingredients.
  8. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop your cookie dough so it’s about two tablespoons of dough per cookie. Put them on the sheets at least a couple inches apart so they don’t meld together when they spread in the oven.
  9. Roll each cookie dough’s top in the raspberry sugar coating, then put it back on the pan. The original recipe has you roll the whole ball but I found that the raspberries burn a bit, so I found it better to just put the raspberries on top.
  10. Bake your cookies 8-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they’re not burning on the tops. Take them out of the oven when the edges look set, but the centers are puffed and gooey. If the top starts to brown, it’s time to take them out.
  11. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then flip them over to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve made a lot of dairy-free recipes over the years, but haven’t ventured far into vegan territories. After a couple negative experiences with less-than-great vegan recipes, I worried that all the ingredient substitutions just couldn’t lead to an awesome final result.

Well, dear readers: I stand corrected. These Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies are pretty darn amazing. If someone handed you one of these cookies on the street*, you’d never guess they’re vegan. And based on what I read on baking blogs, that seems to be the ultimate compliment for ingredient-restricted recipes.

These cookies swap in coconut oil and coconut milk for more standard cookie ingredients like eggs and butter. I’d never used either ingredient before, so I wasn’t totally sure how this would go. But the final cookies have such an amazing texture! They’re thick and chewy, with a nicely firm exterior. The original recipe writer recommended making these decently big, and I took that advice. The final cookies were truly delicious, and very satisfying.

I guess these cookies have officially convinced me that vegan baking can be awesome. Maybe I’ll try this vegan chocolate cake next…

* If someone actually handed you a cookie on the street would you eat it? Because I definitely wouldn’t! My Lyft driver took one of these and I will always wonder if he actually ate it once I got out… or tossed it in the trash. Stranger danger! 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Original recipe: Baker by Nature. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~30 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~60 minutes

Cook Time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil. I used refined/virgin oil because I read it has less of a coconut taste. Your coconut oil needs to be totally solid—if it has started to melt at all, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to get it back to a solid state
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk. I got the Thai variety based on the recipe’s original notes, but you can use any kind you want
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips. If you really need these to be vegan, make sure to find vegan chocolate chips! I use the Enjoy Life brand

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Use your mixer to beat the coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla. They should be well-combined before you move on.
  3. Add in your coconut milk and applesauce, and beat again.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Pour your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix until the ingredients are totally combined. Note that your batter will be thick! If it seems too sticky, you can add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add another tablespoon of coconut milk.
  6. Stir in 1.5 cups of chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  7. Scoop your cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. I used a two tablespoon scoop to measure out my dough.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the centers are set. Keep a close eye on them—they’ll start to burn if you leave the cookies in too long.
  9. Cool your cookies on the baking sheets for 15 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them finish firming up.

 

 

Basil Lime Cookies

I’m an equal opportunity cookie eater. Classics or cuckoo, I’ll give it a shot. But I’ll be honest: I have a real sweet spot for the cuckoo. Throw in some herbs, funky spices, potato chips, beer… and I’ll just have to give it a try. 

These Basil Lime Cookies are the perfect cuckoo cookies. I had no idea how these would turn out, and they ended up being one of my favorite recipes I’ve made in a while. It’s an unusual flavor combo for cookies, and it works beautifully. Imagine a soft, pillowy sugar cookie, with herbaceous and zesty notes. You get a sense of the basil when you first bite in, and an aftertaste of refreshing lime zest. Hard to imagine before you try it—so you’ll just need to try it!

These are perfect for a holiday cookie swap because they’re really stand out on the cookie table. They’re also perfect for summer, since it’s such a refreshing flavor combo. Or, you know, make them whenever you want. Cookies are always a good idea.

Basil Lime Cookies

Original recipe: Betsy Life

Yield: ~20 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~An hour

Cook Time: 8-12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Zest from one lime
  • 3 tbsp basil, very finely chopped. Don’t get lazy here—it’s better to have small specks of basil in your cookies, rather than big chunks!
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions 

  1.  Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Use your mixer to cream the butter and granulated sugar, until it’s light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in your egg, vanilla, lime zest and basil. Ingredients should be fully combined before you move onto the next step.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix your flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and mix until it’s fully combined.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat, then scoop your dough into 2-inch balls. Place the balls about an inch apart so they have room to puff up in the oven.
  7. Bake about 8-12 minutes. Mine took 10 minutes to bake through.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for a bit, then transfer to an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few days at room temp, and freeze well too!