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Category Archives: cookies

Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are said to be the secret recipe of the Mrs. Field’s Cookie Company. My friend Lisa Williams gave the recipe to me in 1988. It’s been our favorite chocolate chip cookie ever since! I’ve added a bit more salt and I usually omit the walnuts. My cookies are also smaller than Mrs. Field’s huge 4 inch cookies. I make 7 dozen cookies from this recipe.

All my ingredients, ready to go!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a mixer cream together:

1/2 pound softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed 

  • Add:

2 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • In a medium size bowl whisk together:

3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

  • Add flour mix to the butter mixture.
  • Mix only just until barely combined. Don’t beat the dough or the cookies won’t be tender.
  • Add and mix only a few seconds:

12 oz chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I prefer Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate)

1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • Drop by a teaspoon on a baking sheet with at least 2 inches apart.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Don’t over bake! They will crisp up when cooling.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Remove from baking sheet when slightly cooled, after about 4 minutes, and place on cooling racks until crisp and firm.


Enjoy!

Rhubarb Jam with Cayenne & Strawberry Jam

I have two recipes on this post. Rhubarb Jam and Strawberry Jam. You can find the Strawberry Jam recipe after the Rhubarb Jam.  The key to both recipes is to use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the Jam. Once it reaches 210 -218 degrees F the sugar will break down and cause the Jam to set and become thickened enough to be considered Jam. 

It’s a soft set Jam. Not a Jello like thick Jam you purchase at the grocery store. This soft set works as a topping over ice cream and cakes too!

Rhubarb comes in many varieties. My neighbor Ruth Clark has “strawberry rhubarb” plants which have more red color towards the interior of the stalks of rhubarb. Plus the strawberry variety retains its red color. Isn’t it pretty?


Here I spread my rhubarb jam on buttered toast and sprinkled it with flaked sea salt. I served it with a fried egg. The egg yolk was broken and melted with cheddar cheese. Then I sprinkled it with smoked paprika and flaked sea salt.


I’ve made many different jam recipes. Now I always use a candy thermometer! I cooked the jam to 210 degrees F. It turns out perfect every time! It took about 30 minutes of cooking.


4 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut in small pieces

4 cups sugar

1 lemon, cut in half, and juiced and include the seeds which have lots of pectin to thicken the jam!

1 and 1/2 cups water

1/8 teaspoon or so cayenne pepper is optional. Combine it with the water for easy mixing if you want.

  • In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon halves, juice and seeds, and water. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature 

  • Pour this colorful mix into a large cooking pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking. Add the cayenne if you like a little kick!
  • After 15 minutes lower to a slower boil at medium heat. Boil another 15 minutes and use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Stir frequently! When it reaches 210 F, remove from the heat. Check my video to see what a slower boil looks like.

Here is the rhubarb jam simmering:


Here is the strawberry jam simmering:


My method of canning is to use boiling hot jars, boiling hot utensils and then process the filled jars for 5 minutes. Here’s how I do it.

  • In a large pot of boiling water place your 8 – 8 ounce canning jars for at least 5 minutes. Keep them in the hot water until you are ready to fill them.
  • In a small pan of hot, but not boiling water place your 8 canning lids.
  • Use utensils that have been boiled at least 5 minutes
  •  Use a funnel to fill the jars
  • Wipe off any spilled jam from jars with a clean paper towel
  • Cover with hot lids
  • In a large pot of boiling water place a kitchen towel to cover the bottom and help keep jars stable
  • Place 6-8 jars in the pot, making sure water covers lids by 2 inches
  • Boil 5-10 minutes
  • Remove from boiling water and cool on your counters.

  • Voila! This takes a day to set and it won’t be as thick as your store bought jam. 😉
  • I adapted this recipe from Leitesculinaria.com.
  • I follow this same procedure for strawberry jam. Except I don’t add water or let the mix sit at room temp an hour before cooking. The quantities needed are:  

8-10 cups or 4 quarts strawberries, washed, dried, stemmed and crushed to measure 6 cups

6 cups sugar

1 lemon, halved, juiced, seeded with seeds included

Optional is to add about 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper for a kick!

Cantuccini, the Classic Almond Biscotti

     


  
“All Italian cookies are called biscotti, but these are what we think of as classic biscotti. Twice baked cookies, these are first baked in a log shape, then sliced and baked again until they are dry and very crunchy. They are meant to be dunked in coffee, tea, wine, Vin Santo (an Italian dessert wine) or what ever you like.” Nick Malgieri from Baking With Julia.

Biscotti refers to twice baked biscuits. “Bi” means two. Cantuccini are the classic almond biscuits that are baked twice.
  
In a large bowl combine and whisk together:

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

  
 
 
Add and combine 1 1/2 cups unblanched whole almonds 

  
In a small bowl whisk together:

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

  
Add the eggs to the flour mixture and combine thoroughly  with a spatula or large spoon.

  
The dough will seem dry, but it will come together as it is kneaded. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes. Fold it over and turn it a quarter turn, then fold it again. Keep enough flour on your surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. But don’t add too much flour which will make the dough too crumbly. Repeat for 1-2 minutes only.

   

Use a bread knife to cut the dough in 2  

 
Roll and shape into 2 logs about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and 1 inch high.

  
Flatten them and place on baking pans covered in parchment 

  
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on racks until cool, about an hour. Don’t let sit much more than this or they become too hard to slice evenly.

  
Slice with a serrated knife on an angle about 1/4 inch wide.

  
Place cookies cut side down on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on the pans.

  
These are done, but you can take it a step further. Brush one end with dark chocolate and then sprinkle with gold dust or black pepper or cayenne pepper or coarse salt! 

Krispy Date Nut Balls

This was a mid century cookie my Aunt Olga made for us. It’s one of my favs and requires no baking! Only a little stove top simmering! I double this recipe


  
  
I bought the “holiday” Rice Krispies this time!

In a small bowl beat 1 egg till thick and lemony

  
In a medium saucepan combine:
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup dark brown sugar 

Add egg and beat again

Stir in 8 ounces chopped dates. Bring to a boil. Then simmer 8 minutes or until thick and light colored

  
Cool 10 minutes

In a large bowl combine:
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Add date mixture to Rice Krispie mix and stir with a large spoon

  
Form into small balls and roll in granulated sugar. Voila!

IMG_1220-1

  

Rugelach/Aunt Marie’s Cheese Horns

 

Rugelach / Cheese Horns

Rugelach / Cheese Horns

Aunt Marie (Korzin Winiarski) was my mom’s older sister. Mom had 5 brothers and 5 sisters. She was also the middle child. I won’t analyze that. My grandmother did not make many desserts, but her daughters learned to.

Aunt Marie was a wonderful baker. At our large family gatherings she was known for these cookies we called Cheese Horns. The dough is not sweet and is made with cottage cheese. It wasn’t till recent years that I learned these were a form of Rugelach, a rolled cookie made with cream cheese or cottage cheese and filled with a variety of sugar, nuts and dried fruits or poppy seed paste, jam or chocolate. It is a Jewish Eastern European cookie which means little twist or little corners. I’ve seen much more complex recipes than this one. Mine is easy and pretty and not exceptionally sweet.

Rugelach, ready to go!

Rugelach, ready to go!

Here are the ingredients for 1 batch. I usually make 2 batches

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • In a mixer combine in this order:

1 cup butter, softened

8 ounces cottage cheese

2 cups flour

 

Rugelach Dough

Rugelach Dough

  • Divide into 3-4 rounds, depending on how small you want to make the cookies. More rounds for smaller cookies.
Rugelach Dough Round

Rugelach Dough Round

  • Place a round of dough on a floured surface. I use a Foley brand pastry cloth and frame and a rolling pin covered with a knit cover and flour.
Foley pastry cloth, covered rolling pin, covered with sifted flour

Foley pastry cloth, covered rolling pin, covered with sifted flour

  • Roll into a thin round about 10 inches across.

rugelach2

  • Brush entire surface with melted butter
  • Sprinkle with dark brown sugar
  • Sprinkle with chopped pecans
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon

Melted butter,  brown sugar & chopped pecans

Melted butter, brown sugar & chopped pecans


Cut into pie shaped segments

Cut into pie shaped segments

  • Using a small knife, cut across the dough in half. Cut into 12-16 segments.
Roll Rugelach into horn shapes

Roll Rugelach into horn shapes

  • Roll up each cookie, starting at the wider end.
  • Place small end down on a parchment covered baking sheet.
  • Brush entire surface with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water.
Brush Rugelach with egg yolk wash

Brush Rugelach with egg yolk wash

  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Cool on wire racks.

Carrie Quirconi Teglia’s Almond Biscotti

Almond biscotti brushed with dark chocolate and dusted with gold

Almond biscotti brushed with dark chocolate and dusted with gold

 

 

 

Almond Bisocotti

Carrie Teglia was a friend to my mom. They worked together as fur finishers in downtown Chicago at all the upscale fur salons.  Bermans, Evans, Bonwit Teller, I. Magnin’s. They shared much, including recipes. Carrie was from Florence, Italy. I imagine this is an authentic recipe from that region. I have adapted it by brushing one end of the baked cookie with dark chocolate and then dusting with gold.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixer, whisk together until lemony color:

7 large eggs

Lemony Eggs

Lemony Eggs

  • Whisk in

1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

  • In a medium bowl combine with a clean hand whisk:

5 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Dry ingredients whisked together

Dry ingredients whisked together

  • Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer whisk
  • Add the following to the batter until combined:

3 tablespoons anisette or other licorice liquor

3 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon

1/2 cup or more finely chopped blanched almonds

Finely chopped almonds

Finely chopped almonds

Almond biscotti batter

Almond biscotti batter

  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Pour the batter into 4 long logs onto the parchment.
Poured batter with uneven edges

Poured batter with uneven edges

  • Use a bread knife to form even edges to the logs. This is a very wet batter.
Even edges with bread knife

Even edges with bread knife

  • Brush entire area of logs with a slightly beaten egg white.
Brush with lightly beaten egg white

Brush with lightly beaten egg white

  • Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.
Baked loaves of biscotti

Baked loaves of biscotti

 

  • Slice in 1/2 inch sections while warm. For larger cookies cut on an angle.
Straight slices cut with a serrated knife

Straight slices cut with a serrated knife

Angled cuts for longer cookies

Angled cuts for longer cookies

  • Place cookies on their sides. Bake each side 10 minutes or until lightly browned or as desired.
Toasted Biscotti

Toasting the Biscotti

  • When cool, melt dark chocolate. Use a brush to paint one end. Place on clean parchment.
  • Using a toothpick and gold dust, tap the side of the toothpick to dust the chocolate as soon as it is brushed with chocolate.
Brush with melted chocolate and dust with gold

Brush with melted chocolate and dust with gold

Cool and dry thoroughly on parchment. Store in air tight containers.

Makes about 5 dozen.

 

Lisa Singer Williams’ Bourbon Balls

Lisa Singer Williams’ Bourbon Balls
Bourbon Balls are a No Bake Cookie!

Bourbon Balls are a No Bake Cookie!

Thank you Lisa!

Thank you Lisa!

A Mid-Century Recipe using Karo syrup

A Mid-Century Recipe using Karo syrup

These are a true bourbon cookie my friend Lisa Williams shared with me. My first taste of a bourbon cookie was in college at a Christmas party my choir director hosted. Shocking! Bourbon served at a Lutheran college professor’s home! They are so easy and my favorite Christmas cookie of 2014. Combine dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients. Mix together. Shape into balls. Roll in confectioners powdered sugar. Voila!

In a large bowl combine:

1- 12 oz. box vanilla wafers, crushed (about 3 cups)

2 cups finely chopped pecans

1 cup confections powdered sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pecans, cocoa, confectioners sugar, cocoa

vanilla wafer crumbs, chopped pecans, cocoa, confectioners sugar, cocoa

In a small bowl combine:

3 tablespoons dark or light Karo corn syrup

1/2 cup bourbon

bourbon and Karo syrup

bourbon and Karo syrup

  • Add bourbon mix to the vanilla wafer mix and stir well. This should be moist. If not, add more bourbon.
Moist mixture

Moist mixture

  • Form into bite size balls and toss in a small bowl of confectioners powdered sugar. Roll to cover thoroughly.
Roll bourbon balls in plenty of confectioners sugar

Roll bourbon balls in plenty of confectioners sugar

  • Place on a flat cookie sheet to meld flavors and dry out a bit.
  • Makes about 4 dozen