Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cookies Galore - Sweet, Salty & Spicy!

Dear Foodies,

Is your baking done, kitchen cleaned, gifts wrapped & mailed ? Sigh! My kitchen counters are still covered in flour, sticks of butter softening and the to-do list has a few more pending things on it. Since this is the one time I take up baking I try as many recipes as I can and there's just soooo many tempting treats popping up all over. It's extremely difficult to stop myself from trying just that o.n.e more cookies recipe. So if like me you have a few more batches to make, I've put together a very easy recipe that you can customize to your liking and crank out goodies in just a few hours!

The next three cookies are based on my shortbread cookie recipe here & here, both fantastic by themselves. This has become my go-to recipe because its really easy to create variations. The basic formula  used for all of these is - 1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter, 1/3 cup Sugar,1 cup AP flour + 1/2 cup Almond meal (or 1.5cups AP flour), a pinch of Salt  - then I add flavorings to make each batch unique.

Lets begin with chocolate, shall we...
3Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder + 1/2 tsp Instant Espresso powder + 1/2 cup toasted Walnuts +1tsp Vanilla extract

1/4 cup each chopped apricots & cranberries + 1tsp Vanilla extract

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + 1Tbsp chopped Rosemary + 1/2 tsp Sea Salt + 1Tbsp Sugar (instead of 1/3 cup) + substitute 1 stick butter with 3/4 stick butter + 1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil

You can make so many more combinations of these shortbread cookies - different fruit & nut combo's -Apricot & Walnut, Cranberry + Pistachio, Cherries + Almond - Thyme + Parm cheese, toasted Cumin, Lemon zest & poppy seed, Deb has one for margarita cookies!!

Another great thing about this cookie dough is that it freezes really well. If you don't want to bake them right away then freeze the dough wrapped in cling wrap. Bring the log out whenever you want fresh cookies and slice just as many as you want. A fresh baked cookie will never be far off with a log of these in your freezer. For the detailed recipe see this post.
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
This is a recipe I tried the same day that Jen @Use Real Butter posted it, and the cookies were fantastic! Soft and chewy in the center with a crisp crust of sugar on the outside. It has a rich chocolate flavor and isn't overly sweet at all despite the outer coating.

I meant to post detailed recipes for the Linzer cookies & Gingerbread but with all the other stuff going on I was pressed for time. I wanted to at least share the ideas here before everyone gets busy with celebrations, so here you go....

Linzer cookies were based on Ina Garten's recipe, the only change I made was to substitute with 1.5 cup of almond meal for AP flour and added zest of 1 Lemon & Clementine. The best part though - homemade Raspberry jam & Peach Ginger jam.

My first batch of gingerbread cookies! This recipe is from Deb @smitten kitchen. I halved the recipe, added 1/8 tsp All Spice powder & 1Tbsp finely grated crystallized Ginger - fabulous! I also tried her recipe for goldfish crackers and they were sooooo good and easy to make and taste so much better than the store bought ones, but that's obvious I guess.

Homemade Cookie Sampler
I saved up to-go plastic containers that came with my sandwich lunches and turned them into the perfect cookie box. The savory cookies get their own little bag so they don't get a coating of sugar. And voila! You have a fantastic selection of cookies to please everyone. A little round of fruit cake wraps up the gift box and its ready to delight a loving family or friend. I think I'm done working with butter and sugar for another year, phew!

Have a beautiful holiday season filled with the things you love!

12 thoughts:

Kathy Mercure said...

I love your idea of adapting cookies from a base dough! I just have a couple of questions: for the chocolate with icing sugar... did you put the icing sugar on before baking so they cracked like that.

And, I made a variation of the Rosemary shortbread, but I LOVE your idea of adding olive oil. I think it will ramp up the taste of the cheese. Did you really use a full 1/3 cup of sugar? I found even 2 tbsp (in my recipe) too sweet.

Thanks, Happy Holidays!

Resh said...

looking so festive....shortbread idea's great...Happy Holidays...

Recipe world said...

Wow, looks yummy n tempting!! Loved the recipe and bookmarking it now :)

Priya V said...

Kathy, yes. for the crackles the cookie dough gets rolled first it granulated sugar and then in icing sugar before it gets baked.

For the rosemary cookie, you are right I used just a Tbsp of sugar for them, 1.3 cup is only for cookies that you want on the sweet side.It's not clear the way I wrote it so thank you for asking, I'll update it in the post.

Happy Holidays to you too!

Resh, thank you & Happy Holidays to you too!

Vani, thank you, it's a simple but adaptable recipe to have on hand.

divya said...

Yum yum,feel like munching some.

Srimathi said...

Wonderful clicks and interesting combination of ingredients. Inspires me to bake the cookies.

chinmayie @ love food eat said...

SO beautiful! Each your creative flavour combinations :) Makes me want to bake right away!

Sharmilee! :) said...

I wish I get a box too, luv to taste all your tempting they look

Only Fish Recipes said...

wow...the rosmary cookies look super delicious...too tempting to resist/...happy holidays to u :-)

Pavani said...

Yum.. yumm.. yumm.. lovely cookies Priya. Love that you used one base recipe to make all the variations. Linzer cookies look awesome. Not sure if I have the patience to make them though, I'm more of a slice and bake kind of gal ;-)
I made nutella, fruit & nut, scottish shortbread & mexican wedding cookies for my gift giving.
Enjoy your weekend and Happy Holidays!!!

Ambika said...

Wow Priya, the cookies look fabulous! Mail me some please :) wish you and your family a very very happy new year !! Happy cooking & blogging :)

evolvingtastes said...

All the cookies look pretty. Lucky recepients!

Blogging tips