Category Archives: Cookies

Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Oh, hello. Are you social distancing? Good—me too!

I have tons of baking supplies at the moment; I scooped up 20 extra pounds of flour when everything started to go to hell about three weeks ago. Before anyone scoffs, I’m not taking from others, baking is literally my job. I understand, however, that you may not have had a 10 pound bag of chocolate chips from Costco on your list, and even if you did, the likelihood that you actually got it is not great. But. But! You don’t need 20 pounds of flour or a gazillion chocolate chips or even to sacrifice eggs in the name of baking during this pandemic.

Real talk—if there ever were a time to bake, this is it. We’re all going to be home a lot; we are going to need things to do to pass the time. For better or worse, baking is entertainment, a way to redirect your mind, and it results in something delicious for you and your family/significant other/roommate(s). You’re going to need something to do between your Zoom meetings and burning through Love is Blind.

These are some of my favorite bare-bones recipes, meaning that maybe they don’t require eggs or can be made with different fats or use only the smallest quantities of everyday ingredients that are hard to find right now. These are the things you can make when you don’t have much in your pantry. I want you to get the most bang for your baking buck, you know? And in that spirit, all the recipes I post (and I will continue to post) for the foreseeable future will fit into these categories or come with substitutions.

We’re all in this together.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes

These excellent pancakes just happen to be vegan and gluten-free, so you won’t need hot-ticket items like flour, butter or eggs to make ‘em. As long as you have oats, oil and some form of milk (plant or dairy)—oh, and a blender—you can make a shortstack in record time. Heads up that these freeze well and can be microwaved for pancakes on-demand.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Buttermilk Biscuits

I am happy to eat a biscuit any time of day. They take just a few minutes to whip together and can be on your table in about half an hour. Don’t want to sacrifice a whole stick of butter? Swap half for shortening, or try coconut oil biscuits. Cream Biscuits & Cornmeal Biscuits are also great options right now.

One great thing? Biscuits don’t require any eggs. They sure are delicious with them though.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Sour Cream Waffles

I have half a container of sour cream that needs a purpose, so I’m going to make some waffles this weekend. If you’re not in the same position, you can swap in some plain yogurt, or use buttermilk in place of both the milk and sour cream. I won’t be able to eat all the waffles at once, which is wonderful for future me. They can be frozen and reheated in the toaster when the mood strikes. Trust me, the mood will strike.

If you need your waffles to be gluten-free or vegan, try these Cornmeal Waffles.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Chocolate Chip Cookies

No dessert is quite as comforting as a chocolate chip cookie, and chances are that you have some chocolate chips or a bar that can be bashed up, thrown into some cookie dough, and baked. Don’t have cornstarch? Nothing terrible will happen if you leave it out. Same with vanilla. You can also swap all the sugar for brown sugar. I haven’t tried using all granulated sugar in this recipe, but if that’s all you have, you can use this cookie base, minus the sprinkles.

Heads up that cookie dough can be rolled into balls, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and frozen. Once they’re frozen-through, put the dough balls in a freezer bag. You can bake the cookies from frozen at a later date, adding a minute or so to the baking time.

Don’t want to make a whole batch of cookie dough? You can make just enough to make one cookie!

Need your cookies to be vegan or gluten-free? Try these—you can swap in peanut butter in a pinch.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Vanilla Wafers

This was the recipe that got me into this whole baking racket. The ingredient list is short and sweet, but the recipe makes a ton of cookies and they keep forever.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

This was almost a list without a cake—most require a lot of ingredients, including several suddenly-precious eggs. Boterkoek, however, requires just one lone egg and the remaining ingredients are almost all pantry staples, which is a win. Oh, and nothing terrible will happen if you leave out the almond extract and ginger.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Blondies

These are super easy and require just six ingredients (in small amounts!) at their most basic. Throw in whatever mix-ins you have or try one of the options in my archives.

My peanut butter blondies are super popular and can be made with regular chocolate chips and without the Oreos. Oh, and if you’re looking for the recipe that’s pictured, it’s not on the site quite yet—next week.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Brownies

Everyone loves brownies! Make ‘em with a gorgeous, glossy, and gluten-free, or swap out the dry ingredients for flour if you’re in a pinch. No chocolate for melting? Make cocoa brownies—feel free to simplify them by using all granulated or brown sugar. Heads up that brownies freeze incredibly well and are super delicious when ice cold.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Easy Raspberry Jam Squares

These squares require minimal ingredients (no eggs!) and you can make them any flavor you want. They’re somewhere between a blondie, an oatmeal cookie, and a linzer—a great recipe to have in your back pocket.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Magic Bars

I love a magic bar. They’re incredibly easy to make and can be made with damn near anything you have in your pantry, permitting that one of those things is sweetened condensed milk.

Don’t have cookies to crumble? Use crackers and a few tablespoons of brown sugar or try a blondie base. Only have one sort of topping? This is not a problem—just go with it! Magic bars are sort of…magical…that way.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Cornbread

Cornbread goes with everything. My recipe is naturally gluten-free, as it contains no flour, but if you’re running low on cornmeal, feel free to swap flour in for half the dry ingredients. Want to jazz it up? Add chorizo or jalapeños and/or cheese or herbs or bacon or…you get the point.

Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough requires minimal ingredients and can be used for way more than just pizza. Brush it with oil and sprinkle with za’atar for za’atar bread. Top it with everything bagel seasoning for something to snack on or use with a dip or spread or under runny eggs. Brush it with butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar for dessert pizza. As for pizza, use what you have. Barbecue sauce and cheddar? Throw some chicken on it. Pesto and mozzarella? YUM. Really, your only limitation is your imagination.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Got any bare-bones baking questions? Hit me up on here or social media! I’ll be keeping it simple around here for the duration of this thing. I hope you and your loved ones are all okay.

White Chocolate Pecan Cookies

White Chocolate Pecan CookiesSince we last spoke, things have only gotten weirder. What is happening? I mean, I know what’s happening, but…what. is. happening?

Well, a lot. And also very little. Like everything outside and on TV is bananas, but everything inside and away from the news is super chill. I’ve never been much for FaceTime or putting my face on video, but I’m doing more of both of those things because social distancing. I am doing less and less going outside—my kitchen is stocked and I have all my essential medications. I hope you do, too.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesOne thing that hasn’t changed at all? I’m still baking. Sure, there’s a part of me that just wants to quit everything and pout, but I think that would get boring quickly. Also, I’d run out of cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesAnd speaking of cookies, I am in love with these White Chocolate Pecan beauties. They’re thick and chewy and stay that way for a whole week! Yes, a whole week! That simply doesn’t happen with most cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesThis is not a flavor combination I would have thought of myself. I was clued in when a friend’s fiancé mentioned that they loved their grocery store’s white chocolate pecan cookies but didn’t love the ingredient list, and could I make them with less-questionable ingredients, please???

Yes. Yes, I could. And I did. And now, you can too.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesToasty pecans and sweet, creamy white chocolate chips are a match made in heaven, especially when folded into a buttery sugar cookie base. These cookies are rich, but not heavy, and I know from a lot of personal experience that it’s difficult to only eat one.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesI recognize that not everyone has white chocolate chips and/or pecans at home right now (this recipe is not a reason for “essential travel” to the grocery store!), so feel free to put whatever mix-ins you like in the sugar cookie base, up to 2 cups. When things get to some point of normalcy though, get yourself some bags of both and prepare to meet (and eat) the cookie combo you didn’t know you needed!

Also, if you don’t have both granulated and brown sugars, you can use all of one or the other. Oh, and should you not have baking powder, swap all the leaveners for 3/4 teaspoon baking soda. Your cookies will likely be a little darker and flatter, but they will still be cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesStay safe, y’all! I’ll be back Friday with a list of things to make while you’re cooped up ❤ White Chocolate Pecan Cookies

White Chocolate Pecan Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

1 cup pecan halves
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Scatter pecan halves on a dry rimmed baking sheet and roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn. Let cool completely and chop finely.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate chips, followed by pecans. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep extremely well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesWhite Chocolate Pecan CookiesWhite Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies Oh y’all, I have winter citrus on my mind. Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls, Orange Cardamom Cake, Key Lime Linzers, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins—if you can throw zest or juice into it, I. am. interested.

That goes double for these Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies, which contain plenty of fresh grapefruit zest and juice, and even have some extra zip from a lemon! They’re a little on the soft side with huge citrus flavor—perfect for a party, late night dessert, or pairing with a cup of tea. If you are looking for a recipe to drag you out of the winter doldrums, this is it.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies are exactly what they sound like. The cookies themselves are a variation on my favorite sugar cookie dough. I nixed the cream cheese in favor of more butter, reduced the baking powder and threw in some grapefruit zest for obvious reasons. They’re baked until they’re just barely done, about 6 minutes.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesThe filling is the completely stellar Grapefruit Curd that I made for kolaches a couple of years ago. It takes some zesting, juicing and whisking, but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. Just make sure to make it ahead so it’s fully chilled by the time you want to assemble.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesPipe it almost to the edges. You want the curd to peek out the sides.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou may certainly eat these cookies right after assembly, but I highly recommend refrigerating them for about 6 hours before doing so. This allows the curd to set and the cookies to soften slightly so that everything stays in place when you bite in. You know, instead of falling apart in your hands. Not that that’s a bad thing.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesYou’ll notice that the batch makes 8(-ish) dozen cookies. Don’t let this scare you off! The cookies are teeny, made with a 1 1/2-inch cutter, and will keep for approximately eternity (…or a week) in the fridge. If you want to make fewer larger cookies, feel free to use a 2 1/2-inch cutter and maybe give them an extra minute in the oven. I’m pretty fond of these little gems though. Anything that allows me to eat five cookies in one sitting is okay by me.Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
makes 8-ish dozen very small cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ruby red grapefruit zest (from about 1 1/2 grapefruits)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
1 recipe Grapefruit Curd, made ahead & chilled (recipe below)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
cookie cutters

Read through this recipe before beginning. The grapefruit curd will need to be made ahead of time and the assembled cookies are best after a 4-6 hour chill.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub grapefruit zest into sugar. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into quarters.

Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Place them at least 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies 6-7 minutes, until no longer raw looking. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.

To assemble sandwich cookies, place half the baked cookies on a surface bottom-side-up. Load grapefruit curd into a piping bag and snip a small corner. Pipe filling almost to the edge (1/8-1/4-inch blank border on all sides) on each cookie before gently topping with another cookie, bottom-side-down. Repeat until all cookies have been filled.

Place filled cookies on a rimmed baking sheet (or other large-ish pan) and chill for 4-6 hours or overnight before serving. This will slightly soften the cookies and keep the curd from squishing out when you take a bite.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Grapefruit Curd
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, from about 2 large grapefruits
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest, from about 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 medium lemon
1 large egg + 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 24 small cubes

Pour grapefruit juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together grapefruit zest, sugar, warm grapefruit reduction, lemon juice, and eggs. Set bowl over the pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens slightly (it should coat the back of a spoon). Add butter 1-2 cubes at a time, whisking until melted. Continue until all butter is used. This should take 11-15 minutes total.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl. Push curd through sieve to remove zest. Transfer curd to a jar (or other container) and press a piece of plastic wrap to the top. Chill well.Grapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich CookiesGrapefruit Sandwich Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares

Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresHappy Valentine’s Day ❤ If you are looking for holiday-appropriate treats, click here and here.Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresIf, however, you are over the heart-shaped baked goods—or, more likely, are looking for something to bake after Valentine’s Day is over—look no further than these very good, anything but boring, extremely square Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares.Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresWe’re talking about a thick, soft layer of cookie studded with miniature chocolate chips, topped with a blanket of chocolate buttercream, and scattered with more miniature chocolate chips. Always more chocolate chips, am I right?!Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresThese sweet squares are perfect for a multitude of occasions. They’re one of those recipes to keep in your back pocket for a game or movie night, class party, office break room pick-me-up, friend who needs a treat, picnic, casual birthday #stickacandleinit, or just…Saturday.Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresAnd while they are not red, strawberry-flavored, rolled into truffles or cut into hearts, I know I’d be hard-pressed to pass one up on this fine, frigid Friday Valentine’s Day.Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares

Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares
makes one 9-inch pan, about 16 squares

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Chocolate Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
miniature chocolate chips, if desired

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cookie layer. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in light brown sugar, followed by egg and yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating just until combined. Add miniature chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.

Press dough into prepared pan with a silicone spatula. Bake 20 minutes, or until no longer wet-looking. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Let cookie layer cool completely in the pan on a rack. Do not remove bars from pan.

Make chocolate buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Use an offset icing knife to frost bars. I like to do this in the pan so that the edges are clean.

Use overhang to carefully lift bars onto a cutting board. Gently peel back edges of the parchment. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into 16 squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts.

Serve squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container with wax paper between layers. They will keep at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Chip Cookie SquaresChocolate Chip Cookie SquaresChocolate Chip Cookie Squares

Friday Favorites: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a divisive occasion, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s a week away. I, for one, think any excuse to show people you love them is a good one, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I express love primarily through food (and videos of dogs on Instagram).

Here are some of my favorite treats from Valentine’s Days past. Look out for a new one next Wednesday!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

I may associate red velvet with Oscar Night, but most bakers like to make it for Valentine’s Day. These bars are much simpler to make than the traditional cake, and bypass the frosting in favor of a thick layer of cheesecake.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayStrawberry Sugar Cookie Squares

I’ll never understand why strawberries are so popular for Valentine’s Day. Who wants to eat a flavorless February strawberry?! That said, freeze-dried strawberries are good year-round, especially when pulverized and mixed into soft sugar cookie squares and buttercream. They provide both flavor and color here—these are food coloring-free!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Covered Strawberry Buttercreams

Speaking of strawberry buttercream, that’s the name and filling of these homemade candies! The frosting is made and chilled before being scooped, rolled, and enrobed in dark chocolate.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayCoconut Cluster Brownies

I have a bit of a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate, which is exactly what inspired the milk chocolate-coconut candy layered on top of these brownies. I’ll take these over a heart-shaped box any day of the week!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

These Chocolate-Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread hearts are one of my favorite recipes on this site. They’re simple to make and the flavors are universally loved, and while you can make them in any shape you like, I think they are particularly adorable as half-dipped hearts.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Cut-Out Cookies

For all the class and restraint embodied in those shortbread, these cookies go in the exact opposite direction. They’re brash and bright and snarky and I l-o-v-e love them. Oh, and while icing is great, the rich chocolate cookies underneath are the real stars of the show.Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayChocolate Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Valentine’s falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re anything like me, making a fuss after a long workweek is not my idea of a good time, especially if it means I have to wear real clothes. Skip the fancy dinner and celebrate the morning after with a Chocolate Puff Pancake. It’s super delicious and easy to make and you don’t have to change out of your pajamas to make it.

Have you made any of these or any of my other Valentine’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: Valentine’s DayFriday Favorites: Valentine’s Day