Cookies!

Every year for the holidays, I make several varieties of cookies to share at my workplace. The most common are chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The “secret” recipe I use is actually basically on the back of the bag of chocolate chips with a couple of small modifications.

  1. Beat 1 cup (2 standard sticks) of butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated white sugar until creamy.  I prefer to use unsalted, uncultured pasture butter, but other butter works well.
  2. Beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time, until well blended. I prefer to use farm fresh eggs from free range hens for the extra bright orange egg yolks.
  3. Add in 2 Tablespoons water and 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract and then blend well. This is a difference from the “traditional” recipe – the traditional only uses 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. For the flour, I sometimes use 1 cup of whole wheat white flour and 1 1/2 cups of normal flour to add a little more chewiness to the structure of the cookies.
  5. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture.
  6. Stir in one normal bag (12 oz) of chocolate chips. For a little more sugary taste, use milk chocolate chips. For a more traditional, use semi-sweet chips. For other options, try mint chocolate chips or other flavors.
  7. Once the dough is prepared, try to not to eat all of it raw! If you succeed in not eating all of the dough raw, roll the dough into teaspoon size balls and place on a baking sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart. The greater amount of whole wheat flour that you use allows you to space the cookies closer together as the whole wheat flour helps the cookies stay more compact while baking while cookies made with white flour tend to expand a bit more while baking.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 8 or 9 minutes. Note that the traditional recipe calls for 12 to 15 minutes but that makes the cookies too crisp for my liking. Also, at around minute 6 and again when removing them from the oven, I smash down the cookies with a spatula to keep them thin and prevent the middle from fully cooking.
  9. After a few more minutes on the baking sheet, remove the cookies to cool on wire racks. Usually the cookies are still droopy and some may fall between the wire racks – this is as intended. Once fully cooled (or even before), the cookies will be deliciously soft and ready to eat.

Continue reading for the peppermint candy cane cookie recipe.

In addition to chocolate chip cookies, I also make cookies topped with crushed candy canes. I often get asked about the recipe as many people have not seen or eaten this type of cookie before. Here is the recipe:

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients:

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

½ cup shortening

1 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red food color

½ cup crushed peppermint candy canes or peppermint candy

½ cup granulated sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Actually, it usually takes a long time to mix the rest, add the food coloring and create the candy cane or other desired shape that I usually wait to pre-heat until after I finish shaping the cookies on the baking sheet.

Crush peppermint candy or candy canes with mortar and pestle (approx. 6 standard candy canes to get to 1/2 cup). I like to grind the candy canes into a fine peppermint powder – others prefer to crush them into pieces instead of a powder.

Mix crushed peppermint candy and granulated sugar. Set that mixture aside for topping right after the cookies come out of the oven.

Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Blend in flour and salt.

Once the dough is mixed, divide the dough in half. Blend food color into one half of the dough.

Shape 1 teaspoonful from each half into a 4-inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth on lightly floured board. Place ropes side by side, press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form candy cane handle shape.

Bake at 375 degrees about 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle hot cookies with crushed peppermint candy and sugar mix. Remove from baking sheet.

Additional tips: To reduce potential breakage, allow the cookies to cool before removing from the cookie sheet. Using parchment paper or a silicon baking pad is very helpful as the candy cane / sugar topping sticks to the baking sheet. Consider using cookie shapes other than candy canes – I often use a round wreath shape for more structural stability.

 

Feel free to experiment with different colors and shapes for other occasions!

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