Category Archives: Cookies

Funfetti Shortbread

Funfetti Shortbread

I got my second vaccine shot earlier this week, and now it’s time to celebrate (while waiting two weeks for it to kick in) 🎉

Funfetti Shortbread

Is there anything that says “hip hip hooray!” quite like rainbow sprinkles? I think not. They’re just so dang happy, like I am when I book trips to see my family or search for theatre tickets for the first time in forever.

Funfetti Shortbread

These colorful little cookies are as fun to make as they are to eat! Their ingredients list is short & to the point, as most shortbread recipes are. The base of flavor and texture comes from softened butter, flour and sugar (in this case, a mix of granulated and confectioner’s sugar). I’ve added some vanilla and a hint of almond extract for that signature Funfetti flavor, and finished the dough off with a borderline-absurd amount of rainbow sprinkles. That’s my style.

Rather than going the slice & bake route with these shortbread, I prefer to flatten the dough into sheets and briefly freeze it. This means that I can bake/eat cookies sooner than later, and as they will be cut with a cutter, the results will be perfectly uniform.

Funfetti Shortbread

While these sprinkle-speckled cookies need no adornment, I couldn’t help myself. A little drizzle of glaze and a few more sprinkles really make this recipe for me. The extra pops of sweetness and crunch are perfect paired with the buttery shortbread, and give them a bakery-esque quality that I adore.

Funfetti Shortbread

Funfetti Shortbread are good the day they are made, but I think they are actually better as time goes on. By day two, the cookies crisp up a bit, resulting in a super-satisfying texture. I have not shared a single one, and can say with certainty that they’re still wonderful on day seven.

A cookie that’s still great after a week? Now that’s something to celebrate.

Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread
makes about 3.5 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract or imitation butter extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)

Glaze & Garnish:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-3 1/2 teaspoons milk
1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2-inch cookie cutter (I used round)

Place softened butter in a medium-large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add dark brown and confectioners sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in vanilla, optional almond extract (or imitation butter extract), and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in flour. Dough will be crumbly looking, but should hold together very well when pinched. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in sprinkles.

Divide dough in two parts. Working with one half at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, place racks in the center positions. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set two cooking racks over parchment or wax paper.

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

Bake cookies for 20-22 minutes, or until no longer shiny (not browned). Let cool on the pans for 7 minutes. Use a thin spatula (not your fingers!) to remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla and 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Use a fork or piping bag to drizzle glaze over cookies as desired. Top with sprinkles. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

Serve. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar CookiesIf you’re keeping track, this is my third lemon dessert in six weeks. What can I say? I’ve got a fridge full of lemons and I know how to use them.

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake âś…
Lemon Meringue Tart âś…
Lemon Sugar Cookies âś…âś…âś… Lemon Sugar CookiesY’all these Lemon Sugar Cookies are so good and so easy! The dough comes together in a pot on the stove just like my Maple Sugar Cookies—no need to dirty a mixing bowl! There’s no chill required for this recipe either, although there are a couple of ten minute rests for the flour to soak in all that buttery lemon goodness. Still, these are easy, easy, easy.Lemon Sugar CookiesThe ingredient list here is relatively short, but has one somewhat unusual addition: confectioner’s sugar. This super-smooth mix of sugar and cornstarch keeps these cookies soft, tender and just sweet enough. If you’ve tried my all-egg yolks chocolate chip cookies, you know what a game changer this is!

As for the lemon flavor, it comes from lemons (duh). The dough is flavored with only lemon zest, and the baked cookies finished off with a quick lemon glaze. The finished products are buttery and bright and pretty dang wonderful, but you can add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract if you’d like an extra lemony punch.Lemon Sugar CookiesPro Tip: wait a little bit to eat these. The difference in flavor between the time they are glazed and thirty minutes later is shocking to say the least. Somehow that half hour allows the lemon flavor to really shine through.Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies are crisp at the edges and chewy throughout, the way so many of the best cookies are. And make no mistake, these are the best cookies—the kind that are low maintenance and deliver big time. Take the time to make a batch this weekend. You’ll see.Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies
makes about 1.5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from about 1 medium-large lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Lemon Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5-6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 of a medium-large lemon)

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place butter in a medium pot (4 quart) over medium-low heat. Melt, then cool 10 minutes.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub them together. Whisk the mixture into the butter, followed by the confectioner’s sugar.

Add the egg and yolk to the pot and whisk to combine. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and 5 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Add more lemon juice by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Load glaze into a small piping bag and snip off the tiniest corner. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best lemon flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Lemon Sugar CookiesLemon Sugar Cookies

Better Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesYou will never find health food masquerading as dessert on this website, but I freely admit that some of my recipes are more nutritious than others. For instance, these Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with 100% whole wheat flour, so they have more protein and fiber than your average cookie, along with some nutty whole grain flavor. They’re also full of butter, brown sugar and chocolate though, so don’t get it twisted—these are dessert, not a side salad. Nobody comes to this site for the vegetables.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesIf you think you’ve seen these on here before, that’s because you have…or a version of them, anyway. I posted Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies back in the winter of 2016. I stand by that recipe, although my personal cookie tastes have changed since then, as has my general baking philosophy.

…can’t believe I just said I had a “baking philosophy.” Oof, that’s pretentious.

But seriously, in the intervening five years I’ve learned a few things about leaveners and flour and cookies in general, and that knowledge and desire for simpler, better home baking has led to a lot of good things. You know, like four dozen soft & chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesThe ingredient list for these cookie is similar to the old recipe, but it’s been simplified. There’s less flour, I nixed the cornstarch, shifted the leaveners, and swapped all the white sugar for dark brown.

I’ve also fully eliminated the chill, which I rarely do in cookie recipes. Chilling cookie dough helps to produce thicker, puffier cookies, but these bake up nice and soft without any break in the action. If you want a slightly thicker cookie, or need to take a pause between mixing and baking, feel free to chill the dough for an hour or two before baking them off. For me though, these crisp-edged, soft-centered whole grain cookies are perfect without any lag time.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesFor those of you wondering if whole wheat flour makes these taste healthy, it’s a resounding “no” because they’re not any less indulgent than the chocolate chip cookies you’ve eaten your whole life. The whole wheat flavor is absolutely there, but so is all that caramelly brown sugar, butter and chocolate. The whole wheat simply adds a subtle toastiness that amplifies the classic flavor we all love.

So, yeah. Health food, these are not. But delicious? You bet.Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

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

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

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until completely combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and roll into balls, setting them two inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes until they look just slightly underdone. Let cool on the sheet pans for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesThese Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies were the maiden voyage of my brand new sheet pans! If the results are any indicator, I think we’re off to an auspicious start.Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesWe’re talking thick, soft cookies with tons of peanut butter flavor and an extra peanut buttery crunch from the Reese’s Pieces strewn throughout! You could obviously swap in chocolate chips or M&Ms or any other add-in you like, but I am all about that double peanut butter life.This cookie dough is super fun and easy to make. It comes together in just a few minutes and doesn’t require a mixer or a chill—score! Just mix, scoop, roll and bake. If you were to turn on your oven right now, you could have puffy peanut butter cookies in half an hour. Half an hour!Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesPretty sure that’s the height of luxury on the fiftieth weekend of quarantine. Or at least it is around here.Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 23-24 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Set oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

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

Combine butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. This may also be done in a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat.

Transfer butter/peanut butter to a medium mixing bowl and whisk in brown sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, stirring until combined. Fold in Reese’s Pieces (or other add-ins).

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Flatten cookies lightly with your palm. Bake 9-11 minutes, until puffed and no longer raw looking. Let cool on the pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets return to room temperature before rolling and baking any remaining dough.

Serve cookies. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter CookiesReese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie BarsI’ve been thinking about Texas a lot lately, partially because I haven’t been to visit my family in 14 months and also because there was a devastating winter weather/energy crisis all over the state last week. Truly, I was consumed with horror listening to the news and compulsively checking in with friends and family to make sure they were alright.

Thankfully, all my loved ones seem to be “okay” (all things considered) and have handleable structural damage. I am obviously not personally affected as I haven’t lived in Texas for 13+ years, but I learned a few things about myself last week while I held my breath for everyone who does.

1) It doesn’t matter how far away I live or for how long, I will always hurt when Texas hurts.

2) If I am ever in a full-scale disaster, I’m calling my sister-in-law so she can tell me what to do. She thinks of everything and is the most prepared person I know. She ground coffee beans in her car, y’all.

3) Thinking about Texas makes me think about pecans, which make me think about pecan pie.

If you didn’t know, the pecan is the state nut of Texas (though we have a lot of men of note who might give it a run for its money). We call them “puh-cahns” in my neck of the woods and we put them in everything: chocolate chip cookies, sticky buns, Thanksgiving stuffing, you name it. The queen of all pecan desserts is obviously Pecan Pie, which (surprise!) happens to be the Texas state pie. It’s been declared by the Texas House of Representatives, so it’s legit.

I make a killer Maple Pecan Pie and have recipes for Pecan Pie Brownies and Pecan Pie Kolaches, but Pecan Pie Bars were missing from my culinary arsenal until last week. Rest assured, they were worth the wait.Pecan Pie BarsMy Pecan Pie Bars are thick and buttery, with equal layers of brown sugar shortbread and sweet pecan pie filling. While some pecan pie bar recipes have a single layer of pecans perched on top of approximately 100 feet of sugar goo that goes everywhere the second you take a bite, that’s just not my style. Nope! These babies are packed to the gills with toasted pecans and will not disintegrate before you finish them. Handheld desserts shouldn’t require a fork and three napkins, y’all.Pecan Pie BarsI prefer the pecans in my Pecan Pie (and adjacent desserts) to be chopped pretty thoroughly, but feel free to leave the pieces larger (or even whole) if that’s what makes you happy. You could also tile whole pecans on top of the filling before baking if a pretty topper is important to your Pecan Pie Bar enjoyment. As for me, I think these are pretty perfect as-is. They may not quite be the state pie of Texas, but they sure are delicious.Pecan Pie BarsIf you’d like to make a donation to help with hunger, housing or damage from the events in Texas last week, please consider supporting Funky Town Fridge, Austin Mutual Aid, or Lucha Dallas. I am seriously considering hosting a virtual baking class (either via Zoom or live on a social media platform) in the next few weeks to benefit continued relief down there. Would you be interested in participating or donating? Let me know in the comments!

Pecan Pie Bars
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Shortbread Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch rimmed square baking pan with butter. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Set aside.

Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

Make the shortbread crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It may be powdery, but should hold together when pinched.

Press shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using the flat bottom of a measuring cup (or the heel of your hand) to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Bake 10 minutes to set.

Make pecan pie filling. In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat, just until it’s just beginning to bubble at the edges (about 7 minutes). Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling.

Spoon pecan pie filling over par-baked shortbread. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the center barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Chill for 1-2 hours for cleanest slicing.

Use parchment overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into bars, wiping clean between cuts as necessary. Serve.

Leftovers will keep an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Pecan Pie BarsPecan Pie BarsPecan Pie Bars