Cookies

Chewy Blueberry Cookies Two Ways

cookie exchange cookie recipe

 

C is for <chewy blueberry> cookie that’s good enough for me! Well, they’re actually good enough for not just me, but to share with the internet world as well! I set out on a cookie journey experiment to come up with a sweet, chewy, but not flimsy cookie dough recipe that would remind me of summer, and man did this do the trick. These cookies use a combination of sugars, and an additional egg yolk to keep them moist & chewy and obviously divine. Basically, I’ve come up with jacked up versions of white chocolate chip macadamia nut and lemon tea cookies with my new secret ingredient…dried blueberries.

dried blueberry cookies

I’ve been addicted to cookies and a non-discriminatory dried fruit consumer for years, but never thought of combining the two (aside from that traditional oatmeal raisin, which I don’t actually ever make). You heard it here first, friends. Dey goooood. They’re smaller and sweeter and more flavorful than your average raisin, and have an added tartness that pairs them well with a sweet cookie. Plus they’re chewy, and the cookies are chewy, and blueberries are summer and raisins are fall, and it all just makes sense.

Ingredients:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-½ t baking soda
-½ t salt
-1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks) room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar
-½ cup granulated sugar
-1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
-1 T vanilla extract
-1 ½ cups of dried blueberries
-½ a bar of good quality white chocolate
-a few handfulls of macadamia nuts
-1 lemon
-1:1:1 ratio of brown sugar to flour to butter, optional (2T each)

how to pack brown sugar

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and two sugars until fully combined and airy. Add in the eggs (save the white for breakfast later?), and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated – don’t over mix, ever! Next, stir in all of tbe blueberries.

blueberry cookie dough

Here’s where things get interesting. I separated the dough into two, because I wanted to experiment with the same base cookie but two different recipes. Originally, I thought one would fail and one would be succesful, but as it turns out lady luck was on my side and they were both delicious! Feel free to follow the recipe out for both cookies by separating the dough, or just pick one flavor and go with it! Be sure to double the add-ins if you aren’t separating the dough, so that the flavor combination is just right.

white chocolate chip macadamia nut blueberry cookies

For the macadamia nut cookies – chop up the chocolate and nuts and add them to the cookie dough base. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto a parchement lined cookie sheet (about 1 ½ T of dough) with some space in between so they can spread out. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then cool.

cookie dough balls edible

ice cream scoop cookie dough

chewy cookie recipe

white chocolate chip blueberry macadamia cookies

For the blueberry lemon “cobbler” cookies (the fan favorite) – add in the juice of lemon, and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is important. I didn’t do this the first time, and the added liquid from the lemon made them spread so much thinner than I had expected! They will be thin regardless of cooling time – and still so so so so perfectly chewy – but the refridgeration helps keep them at just the right texture. While they are baking, mix together that “optional” 1:1:1 combination until it looks like crumb cake topping, and at the 8 minute mark, sprinkle it on top of each cookie. It doesn’t look perfectly like a crumble when they are done baking, but that added buttery-sugar mix is divine. I also sprinkled on some coarse sugar for texture. In total, these cookies bake for about 10-13 minutes.

blueberry cobbler cookies

Both versions were delicious, and so easy to make. The key here is to find a base dough recipe with a flavor and texture that you like – that is also sturdy enough to handle hefty add-ins or a little extra liquid – and experiment! This was the first time I made this base recipe and definitely not my last. What combinations should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, or by commenting on our Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

blueberry lemon cobbler cookies

Jumbo Frosted Animal Cookies

home made frosted circus animal cookies

Remember those awesome little Circus Animal Cookies many of us used to eat as kids? I loved them. For me, their appeal was more about the aesthetic quality: bright happy colors and adorable animal shapes… what’s not to love? Eating them always felt like a mini party!

This week I decided to recreate this classic treat in jumbo size, using some cute animal shaped cookie cutters that I have been meaning to put to use. While my party animals are not all exactly “circus” animals, they still put a big smile on my face, and that’s really the best part!

Frosting Cookies with Candy Melts

You could use any plain sugar or shortbread cookie recipe to make these yourself. The plainer the better, I think, since the candy coating will ultimately steal the show! I’ve shared the recipe I used below.

cut out animal cookie shapes
You will need:

For the dough:
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp vanilla
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3 cups flour

For the decoration:
– some cookie cutters in animal shapes
– candy melts in white and pink
– rainbow nonpareil sprinkles

shortbread animal cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. First, cream together the butter and sugar. Then stir in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder and flour until a homogenous dough forms, divide into 3 balls, then chill the dough for at least an hour.

Using a little extra flour for sprinkling, roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the animal shapes. Place your party animals on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart (they won’t spread much). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned along the edges.

cover cookies with melting chocolate

For the frosting: set up a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot with water about half way, then placing a bowl of slightly larger size on top. (If you have a bowl with handles it will work particularly well here.) Heat the water on medium and fill the bowl with one color of the candy melts. Stir until smooth and melted through, then turn the heat down to low.

Dip each cookie face down into the coating, then gently lift out and place onto a sheet of wax paper or a wire rack. This part can be a little tricky, so its nice to keep a spoon on hand to help cover any missed spots. Don’t worry about them looking perfect, a generous helping of sprinkles with cover any imperfections! After you’ve frosted about half your batch of cookies, wash out the bowl and continue coating cookies with the other color. The coating sets pretty quickly, so don’t forget to pause after every few cookies and sprinkle with nonpareils!

pink and white frosted animal cookies DIY
Aren’t these guys so festive and fun? The pink piggies are my favorite. I think they would make a really great Birthday surprise for someone, or you could customize with other shapes or colors.

It’s a lot of fun to try to recreate your favorite classics at home. Sometimes the homemade version turns out even better (and usually healthier). Are there any other classic snacks or treats you would like to see us DIY on What to do with Lemons? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!

Browned Butter Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

browned butter bourbon bacon chocolate chip cookies and milk     

Remember the meat party?  Well, as a baker I’m not too sure it can be a real celebration without some type of dessert.  So after sticking to the strict meat-only rule with my mini-meatloaf cupcakes, I had to bring a real sweet treat that would keep me in theme just enough to appease the hosts.  Your classic back-of-the-bag chocolate chip cookie recipe would taste great with a crunchy bacon add-in, but to combat the side-eyes I knew I’d get from the B.Y.O.M. attendees I knew these cookies had to be a little bit jazzier. So, I added in the bacon crumbles and drippings, browned the butter to deepen the flavor, and boozed them up with a “little” bourbon…how could you go wrong?

browned butter bourbon bacon chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

-2 ½ cup flour

-1t baking soda

-1t salt

-1 stick butter

-½ cup bacon fat

-¾ cup brown sugar

-2 eggs

-2T vanilla

-2T bourbon (optional, or use less)

-about half a pack of bacon

-4oz. semi-sweet chocolate

-4oz. bitter-sweet chocolate

Instructions:

If you’re going to bake the cookies right away, preheat your oven to 350.  Step one, cook the bacon over low heat.  We want fully cooked-through, crispy bacon with no burnt pieces, and low heat will help us get there.  After you cook the bacon, set it to drain on a plate with paper towels, and CAREFULLY pour the bacon drippings into a bowl.  More often than not, these drippings are put in an aluminum can to cool to only be disposed of, but not today.  The bacon fat is going to amount to half of the fat we put into these cookies, and will elevate that bacon flavor.  As the drippings cool, brown the butter.  Put the butter in a small sauce pan and let it melt over medium-low heat.  Once it starts to turn into a liquid, start watching the pan more carefully, and swirl it to stir often.  This part requires concentration, as you don’t want to over brown your butter.  Browned butter looks well, brown.  But it has a nutty aroma and makes the butter taste even more endulgent, if you can believe it.  Burnt butter also looks brown (I know, not ok) but it is NOT rich or wonderful, it tastes awful.  Really, really awful.  It stinks, and will mask all other ingredients in your recipe and ruin it.  So, once the butter starts to bubble a bit, gets really transparent, and has the slightes bit of brown, take it off the heat and keep swirling. The butter is still hot and will change to a slightly-toasted brown, and you won’t have any problems with burning.  If you’re still nervous about burning the butter, cut 1-2T from the stick of butter before you brown it, and once you get to that off the heat stage, throw in the reserved butter to cool the melted butter down (I did this, partly due to paranoia, partly because I didn’t have any more butter to waste).  Pour in the reserved bacon fat – which should amount to half a cup – and let the mixture cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, get your dry ingredients together, crumble the bacon, and cut up the chocolate into bite sized pieces.

browned butter bacon fat

browned butter

The rest of the steps are much easier, and are exactly the same as any cookie recipe.  Cream the sugar with the fat, add in the eggs, then blend in the vanilla and bourbon.  Add in the dry ingredients one step at a time until you’ve got your dough pretty consistant.

browned butter cookies

bourbon bacon chocolate chip cookie dough

browned butter bourbon bacon cookie dough

Note: This will be a pretty greasy dough, and that’s ok!  Any time you use a liquid fat, the dough is going to appear to be a little thinner and much shiner than what you’d normally get with unmelted butter.  After the dough is combined, stir in the chocolate and bacon, cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge to chill.   I chilled the dough for about an hour because I was really hungry, but you can even chill the dough overnight.  (Gotta love the make-ahead recipes).  If you’re OK with raw dough, this is where you taste test.

chilled bacon chocolate chip cookie dough

Shape and bake the cookies on a parchment lined tray for about eight minutes, or until just done.  I always err on the side of less-cooked because like the butter, the cookies will hold the heat and continue to cook even when out of the oven.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about two minutes before moving them to cooling trays.  Or, if you’re really hungry, eat them immediately!

 

The cookies will be a combination of sweet and savory, chewy and crunchy, and bacon-y and boozy, and will keep for a week in an air-tight container.  You can even serve them cold!

Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti with Walnuts

photo 2

Italy is to biscotti and espresso as England is to scones and high tea, and as America is to fries and vanilla milkshakes.  The pairings are deep rooted in heritage, tradition, and respect – they are like history and sentiment in edible form, and they are delicious.  Luckily for me, my dad appreciates nothing more than those exact things – Birthday Biscotti it is!  These italian twice-baked cookies are crunchy-crispy, semi-soft centered, and chocolate-y, and inspired by my dad’s favorite flavors.

 

photo 3

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ heaping cup of dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2t instant espresso powder (you can omit, but you won’t taste it – it boosts the chocolate flavor!)
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs, whole
  • 3t almond extract
  • 2t vanilla extract

Extras

  • ½ cup of dry roasted, unsalted almonds
  • ½ cup of raw walnuts
  • OR 1 cup of any nut, dried fruit, or chocolate chip combination that you’d like

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Measure out all of your dry ingredients, whisk them together, and set aside.  When measuring flour, I use a sort of fluffing technique – there’s no need to bring out a sieve.  Using a spoon, fluff up the flour before sprinkling it into the measuring cup, and when you’ve got a heaping pile of aerated flour in the cup, level it off with the back of the spoon.  This method of flour measuring is one of the most useful I’ve learned to date.  Ever follow a recipe completely, but your cookies still turn out too dry, or your brownies are cake-y, or your pie crust just crumbles?  Just remember that you can always add an ingredient, but un-adding one requires a complete recipe re-work.  I once added too much flour to a recipe – I know, what was I thinking – and my double dark chocolate chip cookie recipe turned into a tin full of rocks.  Literal, rocks.  People were simultaneously “enjoying” the cookies and making dentist appointments because their teeth chipped.  Horrible.  Don’t add too much flour.

Now that that’s settled, on to the wet ingredients.  Using a mixer and a separate bowl, beat your sugar and butter together until they are creamy.  Not grainy, creamy.  If your mixture still looks ricey, keep beating.  The butter is already butter, so there’s no need to worry about overworking your dairy.  Next add in both eggs, and the extracts.  Note to the reader: Whenever I give a measurement for an extract, I almost always add a spill more and I rarely leave out the vanilla.  Like the espresso, vanilla is a flavor enhancer, and really rounds out any baked good.  Because your butter sugar mixture was so well incorporated, mixing in the eggs and extract should be pretty easy.  Once your all blended, begin mixing in the dry ingredients a little at a time, until incorporated, chop up the add-ins and fold them in until evenly distributed.  You also want to be sure to not over-mix at this stage in a baking recipe unless specified.  I think there is a science behind it involving gluten or something, but all I know is that mixing my brownies 25 turns of the bowl gets me not-good-chewy chocolate things, and that 20 turns gets me of the best things I’ve ever created (you’ll have to wait for December for that one, but it will be worth it).

photo 5

When you’re all mixed, divide your dough into to sections, and with floured hands, form two biscotti loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet, 2 or more inches apart.  There’s no perfect width or length for these cookies – make them the shape you want to eat them, just know that they’ll expand a bit when baking.  Bake the biscotti for 30 minutes or until set.  Leave the tray to cool for 15 minutes, then using a serrated knife, gently cut your biscotti into sections, lay back on the tray, and bake for another 8 minutes.  These treats aren’t too sweet, and are the perfect texture to eat alone or to enjoy with coffee, tea, or milk.  Be sure to store your biscotti in an air-tight container, that is, if they last longer than the hour they take to make.