Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

As Promised... Cookie Bake-Off 2009!

Monday, December 21, 2009

This was my first year away from home during cookie bake-off weekend. Honestly, it was really sad. I love baking with my sisters and mom - especially making my sisters' kitchens a mess. I'm really good at that, but I always help clean up! But this year, I had a great side-kick, Lindsey. She was a real trooper - making coconut 'snow balls' even though she doesn't like coconut (neither do I, but Lucas does).

Here's the recipe:

Coconut Snowballs

1 c. sweetened flake coconut
1 c. flour
1-1/4 c. pwd. sugar
Pinch of salt
6 T. softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. milk

Directions: 1| Grind 1/2 cup of the coconut in food processor. Chop remaining coconut and set aside. Add flour, 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and the salt. Pulse to blend. Add butter and vanilla; pulse until dough comes together. 2| Heat oven to 350*F. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  3| Bake cookies until firm but tender, 15 minutes. Remove to rack; let cool completely. 4| In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk until smooth, but still thick. Dip cookies in glaze (about 1/2 tsp for each), letting it drip down sides.  Dip in chopped coconut and set aside for glaze to dry.

Note: Of course this can all be done without a food processor, which is awesome, because I don't have one. Be sure to always use butter. You might worry about calories, but you know what... you're eating a cookie.

The next cookie we tried is the one I gave a teaser about in the above photo - Surprise Cookies. Anything with chocolate and marshmallows has got to be good. They were probably the most exciting ones we made, just because they were different. Here's the recipe for those:

Surprise Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
Chocolate Frosting for Surprise Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.
From Martha Stewart Kids

Had enough? Well too bad, there's more! The next cookies we made were called Chocolate Charms. While this recipe asks for plain old vanilla - we decided to spice them up a little by adding Godiva Chocolate liqueur to half and Bailey's, Caramel to the other half. YUM! Like my friend Lana and I always say - do not forget our favorite ingredient!

Chocolate Charms 

Makes 40
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt into a bowl.
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, and beat about 2 minutes more, until very light in color and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add vanilla, if using. Add flour mixture, and combine on low speed, scraping with spatula if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers. Form dough into a flattened disk; wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a spoon, form dough into 1-inch balls; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool completely on wire rack. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
NOTE: These cookies appear to be gooey and scrumptious, but they're more like a shortbread. Technically, you're not supposed to put the dusting of cocoa powder until you're about to eat them, but who pays attention to the rules anyways?

Here were some cookies I made a week prior - they didn't turn out so well... *tear.

And of course, there's always a mess to clean up.

I can't wait to see what some of you have come up with for the Holidays! Please share!  Merry Christmas!


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