Baking

spiced cookies

These little beauties are deceptively small. What they lack in size, they sure do make up in a punch of spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, oh my!

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Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

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Store rolled dough in empty paper towel rolls to maintain their shape in the freezer, right next to your butter and creamsicles.

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Smaller nonpareils stick better than larger dragées.

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Stack them in half pint mason jars and tie with a bow=instant homemade gift!

Baking

cranberry pumpkin oatmeal cookies

According to the calendar, fall is upon us. According to Weather Puppy, it’s still a scorching summer.

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According to the decor in my humble abode, it’s most certainly the coziest season of the year, sans sweaters.

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In a desperate attempt to reclaim fall, I wanted to make something that just screams psl season. That something blends all the best flavors of the season in one festive little cookie.

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I took the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe in the lid of a canister of Quaker Oats and made some seasonal modifications: subbed dried cranberries for raisins, added pumpkin puree, and tossed in a few pumpkin-complementing spices for an extra kick.

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Baking

criss cross apple…pie

In spite of it being 80°F+ outside in the middle of November (#socal #humblebrag), it’s time to dust off some cozy fall recipes. Maybe if I keep baking enough pies and pumpkin-related things, the weather will cooperate and actually be fall-like? Pretty please? I just want to wear scarves and boots already.

So what exactly is the coziest, back-to-basics kind of pie? A good ol’ homemade (except the crust cuz that’s time consuming) apple pie. With a lattice top. Because it’s so pretty.

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If you find the idea of peeling, coring and slicing apples particularly soothing, then by all means go get crazy with that manual peeler. For those of us stricken with possible carpal tunnel, or you just want an AWESOMELY cool new kitchen toy, let me introduce to you an apple peeler:

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It peels, cores and yes, slices those bad boys with just a few turns of the handle. While it looks like the apple stays whole, if you stretch it out, it looks like a huge swirly curl of apple goodness.

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Baking

s’mores cookies

{s'more cookies}

For those whose idea of enjoying the outdoors is sitting on a patio in a lawn chair, I give you the non-camper’s version of a s’more. Gone are the days of being a mosquito buffet or being on alert for bears eating your food supply. You can enjoy the chocolate, gooey, graham crackery-ness of a s’more in the comfort-and safety-of your own home (barring any oven mishaps, of course).

I used my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and incorporated 1 package of cinnamon graham crackers in the batter. I left the chunks on the larger side so you get that crunch of graham cracker:

{batter}
{batter}

I then scooped 1-1/2 inch balls of dough and shoved three mini marshmallows into each cookie. I under cooked one batch as usual (I love a gooey centered cookie) and slightly overbaked another. The latter still came out moist and gooey because of the melted marshmallows.

NB: Things can sometimes get messy, so clean up BEFORE you stuff your face silly with cookies and pass out from a s’more coma…hypothetically speaking.

{messy kitchen}
{messy kitchen}
Baking

fluffernutter cookies

Fluffernutter: marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, white bread, YUM. For the uninitiated, read this.

No, you cannot use marshmallow creme. Yes, there is a difference. This is fluff:

This cookie is such a simple concept. Forgo the white bread for pb cookies, just add fluff and voila. The yummiest twist on a pb cookie you’ll ever have.

In order to truly have the best fluffernutter cookie, you must start with the best pb cookie. Slate.com told me I was making pb cookies wrong. The bit of almond extract in these give them the extra nuttiness that make them uber good.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: About 24 cookies
Time: About 3 hours, mostly unattended

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, or more as needed for coating the cookies

1. Beat the brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl) until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir just until combined. Wrap the dough in foil or plastic wrap (or simply cover the bowl) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, coat each ball in sugar, and transfer to a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Press the tines of a fork flat against each ball of dough to indent it, then make a second indentation perpendicular to the first one. Bake until the cookies are firm and their edges are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks or paper towels to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a few days.

*To make these into fluffernutter cookies, spread a generous tablespoon (or two for the fluffaholics) of fluff onto the flat side of a single pb cookie, and simply sandwich another on the other side.

Baking

salted cookies and cream cookies {did someone say double stuf?}

{salted cookies and cream cookies}

The name is a mouthful, as are the cookies! There’s salt. There’s Oreos. There’s a damn good cookie recipe. It’s chunks of cookie inside a cookie. It’s cookie-ception.

Recipe via gastronomyblog.com (with slight modifications of my own)

INGREDIENTS
8 1/2 ounces (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) cake flour
8 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) light brown sugar
8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 package Oreo Double Stuf cookies
Sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

{butter is magical}
{butter is magical}

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

{all about the double stuf}
{all about the double stuf}

Remove the dough from the refrigerator one hour prior to baking to allow it to soften some. Once the dough has come to room temperature (cooler is perfectly fine, just as long as the dough is malleable), incorporate the Oreo cookies using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. To distribute large cookie chunks throughout the batter, mix for 5 seconds. If you prefer smaller chunks, mix for 10 to 15 seconds.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Scoop 2 tablespoon mounds of dough onto the baking sheet. Make sure to turn horizontally any Oreo cookie pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough. The dough might look a bit raw coming out of the oven, but no worries, once it cools everything firms up nicely. Dig in.

Makes about 36 cookies.