Category Archives: Cookies

Chocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake

Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeBack in November, I made this Chocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake for a friend’s birthday. I thought it was cute, so I posted a picture of it on my social media with a #comingsoon…and then promptly forgot* about it because Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, my birthday, and so on and so forth.

*For the record, I did post a single-serve version.Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeBut I remembered now. Seven months later than anticipated, but I remembered. I promise you, Chocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake is worth the wait.Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeWe’re talking about a rich, thick chocolate cookie studded with colorful candy and finished off with a flourish of chocolate buttercream. What’s not to love?!Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeChocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeIt’s easy too—it’s basically just a slightly smaller batch of my Double Chocolate Cookie dough with M&Ms instead of chocolate chips.Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeChocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeBake it up in a cake pan, let it cool, and pipe on a buttercream border. In my opinion, that last step is the thing that takes this recipe from “giant cookie” to “cookie cake.” Not that there’s a thing in the world wrong with a giant cookie, am I right?!Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeSlice it up and share with people you love this weekend or for the Fourth of July (with holiday-appropriate M&Ms!) or pretty much any old time. Or, you know, follow my lead and completely forget about it for seven months and then wonder why you didn’t make it sooner.

(Don’t be like me.)Chocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake

Chocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake
makes 1 9-inch round cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup M&Ms candy

For decoration:
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)
M&Ms candy

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Combine butter, brown sugar, and cocoa powder in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until butter is melted. Mixture will be a bit grainy.

Let mixture cool a few minutes before transferring to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in flour, baking soda and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in M&Ms candy.

Transfer dough to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 24-27 minutes, or until the top no longer appears shiny.

Let cookie cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan before inverting the cake onto the rack. Revert onto a serving plate. Decorate with Chocolate Buttercream and M&Ms as desired.

Decorated cake will keep at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Chocolate Buttercream
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

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.

Load into a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip here), or spread with an offset icing knife.Chocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeChocolate M&Ms Cookie CakeChocolate M&Ms Cookie Cake

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Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Cashew butter cookies began as a last-minute recipe a couple of years ago, but now they’re one of my favorite things. Every time I finish testing and posting one version, I start formulating another.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I started dreaming of these Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies when I posted their classic chocolate chip sisters last spring. As with many of my recipes, they were in the back of my mind for months before I ever cracked open a jar of creamy cashew butter and started playing around. But once I did…whoa.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}These thick, puffy, chewy chocolate cookies are so, so good. And vegan. And grain-free. And dead-easy. Just…what?! Give me alllllll the cashew butter cookies!Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}This is a one-bowl, no-mixer, no-chill, cookies-within-30-minutes-of-a-craving recipe. Oh, and should you have some modicum of self-control, these two-bite treats keep incredibly well at room temperature for upwards of a week. In fact, I think they get better as time goes on. The buttery cashew flavor mellows and melds with the cocoa and chocolate chips, and the results are brownie-like and wonderful ❤Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I find good quality, reasonably-priced cashew butter at Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t happen to live in a spot smack in between two TJ’s, never fear. I haven’t tried it, but I am 96% sure you could make these with well-stirred natural peanut butter. And honestly, I think the only way to improve this recipe would be to add peanut butter.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1 cup creamy-style cashew butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid) or 1 flax egg*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips + more for topping

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

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cashew butter, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Mix in aquafaba (or flax egg) and vanilla. Fold in dairy-free chocolate chips.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and form into balls. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared pans and press down to flatten. Bake 10-11 minutes, until puffy and no longer wet looking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Top warm cookies with more chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

Let cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep well at room temperature for at least a week.

Note:

To make a flax egg, use a fork to whisk together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons warm water. Let sit for five minutes, until thickened. Continue with recipe as written.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Key Lime Linzer Cookies

Key Lime Linzer CookiesHi there 👋 I made you some cookies.Key Lime Linzer CookiesI mean, I baked them last week and ate them all already, but you understand, right? Things that taste like Key Lime Pie but fit in the palm of your hand are difficult to resist.Key Lime Linzer CookiesThese are linzer cookies—basically sandwich cookies with little cut-out picture windows to show the filling, which is traditionally jam. Today, I decided to go in another direction with flavors reminiscent of key lime pie. I just love the results—they look so sunny and happy.Key Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesThe cookie recipe is a spin on my favorite roll-out sugar cookies, although you might not be able to tell from the list of ingredients. I nixed the cream cheese, upped the brown sugar, added pinches of cinnamon and ginger, and swapped a bunch of the flour for graham cracker crumbs.Key Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesYou’ll notice one glaring omission in these linzers: I left out the traditional nuts. While most recipes have almonds or pecans (or hazelnuts) blitzed into the dough, I found the addition of graham cracker crumbs to be more than adequate. The result is a crisp cut-out cookie with a hint of graham and spice—the perfect compliment to the key lime filling.Key Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesSpeaking of filling, you’re going to want to put this stuff on everything. Toast, vanilla wafers, ice cream, swirled into yogurt, eaten off a spoon, and probably five other things I haven’t thought of yet. It’s basically key lime pie filling that’s cooked over a double boiler and then allowed to chill until rich, thick, tangy and delicious. It has the texture of a citrus curd, but is half the work and requires only three ingredients! Yesssss. The filling recipe makes a bit more than you’ll need for these cookies, so you’ll have plenty leftover to use elsewhere. Trust me, you’ll be glad to have this stuff around.Key Lime Linzer CookiesWhile it’s good in all sorts of applications, this creamy, dreamy key lime filling is especially good sandwiched between two thin cookies and topped off with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. I think most things are.Key Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer Cookies

Key Lime Linzer Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

Key Lime Filling:
2/3 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks, room temperature

Cookie Dough:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Assembly:
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
graduated cookie cutters
sifter or wire mesh colander

Make the filling. 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 key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer filling to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until you are assembling cookies. This may be done up to 2 days in advance.

Make the cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into 4 parts.

Working with one quarter 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 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 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Use a smaller cookie cutter to punch the centers out of half the cookies. Place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies 7-8 minutes, until turning pale golden. 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.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with 1 teaspoon of filling (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Key Lime Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.Key Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer CookiesKey Lime Linzer Cookies

Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket ThumbprintsIf you’re looking for something easy and adorable to contribute to this year’s Easter desserts spread, your search is over.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprints are just as festive as my Easter Egg Hunt Cake and only 1/4 of the work! Who can resist their pastel cuteness?! Not this lady.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThis recipe is simply an Eastered-up take on the Holiday Icing Thumbprints I posted last Christmas. They are meant to resemble little two-bite Easter baskets 🙂 Easter Basket ThumbprintsThey are simple to make, too. I don’t have children, but I definitely would have made these with my older kids back in my nanny days.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsThe sugar cookie dough bases are rolled in pastel sparkling sugar for color and texture (crispy edges!) before baking.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThen, immediately after baking, a well is pressed into the center of each cookie. These are the “thumbprints,” even though they’re made with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon. They’re filled with green icing…Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprintsand topped with some coconut “Easter grass.”Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsDot on a little extra icing and finish your cookies with a couple of Easter egg candies. I went with these candy-coated malted milk balls. Let’s not discuss how many I ate during this little photoshoot.Easter Basket ThumbprintsOr how many of these cheerful Easter Basket Thumbprints I ate in the days that followed.Easter Basket ThumbprintsNo regrets.Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

For Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1-2 drops each pink, blue, and yellow food colorings (liquid or gel)

Coconut:
1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
3-5 drops green food coloring (preferably liquid)

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
2-3 drops green food coloring (liquid or gel)
1 package Easter egg candies (I like Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs)

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

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

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

Make the sugar coating. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in each of 3 small bowls. Add 1 drop food coloring to each bowl (I used pink, blue, and yellow) and use a fork to stir in the color. If you use gel coloring, you may need a drop of water to ease the color onto the sugar. Add another drop of food coloring, if needed to reach desired color.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Roll balls in colored sugar before placing at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—this is okay.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer raw-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, coating, and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Dye the coconut. Place flaked coconut in a small bowl and add 3 drops green food coloring. Use a fork (or your fingers) to distribute the dye evenly. Add another drop or 2 of coloring, as needed to achieve desired color.

Make the icing. Place confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add 2-3 drops green food coloring and whisk with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired. Sprinkle/press on coconut.

Add a drop of icing to each cookie to adhere Easter egg candies.

Icing will set over time. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.Easter Basket Thumbprints Easter Basket Thumbprints

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThere is a small town between Austin, Texas, and my hometown of Fort Worth that is called Hamilton. From the passenger seat of my parents’ SUV, it looks like any other small Texas town—there’s nothing remarkable about it from that particular vantage point, except that it is home to my family’s favorite pit stop, Dutchman’s Hidden Valley Country Store.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesI should say that we have always called it The Flying Dutchman. I don’t know why—that’s just what we’ve always called it. I’d like to tell you that we will change our ways and call it Dutchman’s Hidden Valley from here on out, but we won’t so I won’t. A 35+ year family habit is not easily broken.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesMy dad began stopping at Dutchman’s Hidden Valley in the early 1980s on his way to visit my older sister down in Fredericksburg. He’d stretch his legs and grab a Bavarian ham sandwich before getting back on the road. When he met my mom, he introduced her to the store. Fast forward ten or so years, and she and my grandma began taking Eliot and me to Dutchman’s on our way to family reunions in Kerrville. And now, twenty years beyond that, my parents take the back route to visit my older sister again, this time in Austin. They say it’s because I-35 is a mess, which is true, but I think it’s actually so they can get a sandwich.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesI haven’t lived in Texas or driven the back roads in a very long time now, but a couple of Christmases ago I had the pleasure of riding with my mom from my sister’s home in Austin to my parents’ in Fort Worth. We were listening to Hamilton while zipping through Hamilton’s city limit (so meta!), when she suggested I call Dutchman’s and order some sandwiches. I did, and when we arrived we grabbed a couple of bags of chips and a Diet Coke to split, and in a snap decision, two old-fashioned peanut butter cookies. The sandwiches and chips and soda all tasted like they always have, but the peanut butter cookies were new to both of us and so much more than we had bargained for—not that we’ve ever been served anything less than perfection at Dutchman’s.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, crunchy and not-too-sweet, with an almost-savory peanut butter flavor, my mom and I talked about them all the way home. Dutchman’s peanut butter cookies are probably the best I’ve ever had in my life, and I have thought of them frequently and fondly for the last 15 months. I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing another on the way out the door—I think they were 60 cents each.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesNow, I am sure I will end up in Texas at some point this year, but I don’t know when, and I am highly unlikely to find myself passing through the sleepy metropolis of Hamilton. My trips are rarely more than a few days, so road trips to get Bavarian ham sandwiches and chips and my newfound-favorite peanut butter cookies are difficult to squeeze in.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThis is all a very long way of saying that I have done my best to recreate Dutchman’s peanut butter cookies in my New York kitchen. I’ve done a pretty good job, if I do say so myself 🙂 Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesThese Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies are crispy and crunchy (duh) and sort of sandy. They aren’t overly sweet—there’s barely 1/2 teaspoon of added sugar in each one—and while I believe Dutchman’s cookies’ savory edge may come from lard (rural Texas, y’all), mine comes from a smattering of roasted peanuts. If you want a sweeter cookie, you can swap all or part of the peanuts for chocolate chips, or leave the add-ins out entirely.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesHands-down, my favorite part of this recipe is that it doesn’t require a chill. The dough is sturdy and easy to roll from the get-go, so the time between the moment the peanut butter cookie craving strikes and when they are baked and ready is mercifully brief. Oh, and these cookies hold up well for at least ten days and develop deeper peanut butter flavor over time, so you can eat them frequently and think of them fondly and not have to worry about when you’ll have time to bake more, or when you can get to a roadside antique store & sandwich counter in Hamilton, Texas, to get your fix.Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 80 small cookies

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)

For crosshatching:
granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment, set aside.

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

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Add granulated and light brown sugars, and beat to combine. Mix in egg and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chopped peanuts.

Scoop dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll into balls, and set 2-inches apart on prepared pans.

Make the crosshatch. Lightly grease the back of a fork and dip in sugar. Press fork into each dough ball, then turn the fork 90 degrees and press again. Re-sugar the fork between cookies.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, crosshatching, and baking with remaining dough, letting the pans return to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.

Crispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter CookiesCrispy, Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies