Tag Archives: cookies

White Chocolate Toffee Bars (Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap)

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the swing of Christmas – there’s so much to do, so much going on, that it seems like the whole season just swoops on by before I’m ready! But one thing I have managed to get done this year, at least, was one good cookie swap.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, that is! This was a fun event dreamed up by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil, and Julie of The Little Kitchen. With their hard work and amazing organizational skills, they coordinated over 22,000 cookies getting sent around the world as part of this swap! Thanks to both of them for putting together this opportunity for me to participate in a cookie swap, even though most of my close friends are in another state. If you would like to be notified when they do this again next year, go to this page to sign up.

So, each of us were to make 3 dozen cookies of one recipe, then send 1 dozen to each of 3 bloggers, whose contact info we received from Julie and Lindsay. In return, we would receive 3 dozen cookies different cookies. Then, we will all post our recipes on the appointed day (today). A great way to stock up on delicious goodies for the holiday season AND get some yummy new recipes.

I had planned to take pictures of the cookies I received to put up here, but alas, they were gone so fast, no pictures got taken (my boyfriend, the King of Sweet Teeth, was in hog heaven with all those cookies around). Somehow, a picture of the empty containers wouldn’t quite have the same impact. Thank you to Lauren of West Coast Girl, East Coast Life for some seriously delicious Eggnog Snickerdoodle cookies. Can’t wait for that recipe to get posted!  And also many thanks to Anh-Chi of Foodie Next Door for the yummy ginger snaps!

I agonized for a long time about what kind of cookies to send. My first couple of thoughts were, of course, recipes I’ve made for friends that were popular. But they weren’t really appropriate for shipping. Finally, I settled on these toffee bars. Beautiful, delicious and festive, AND they (hopefully) travel well, being firm bars.

I hope that the recipients of my cookies received them in reasonable condition. I stuffed the boxes with so much parchment paper and bubble wrap, there was barely enough room for the cookies!

Enough rambling – here is my recipe for White Chocolate Toffee Bars.  These are easy to make, make a bunch, and can be easily customized with toppings of your choice.  Enjoy!

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Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES?Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now.Also see this month’s second Monthly Munchies recipe – Chai Shortbread.

You may have noticed there’s always a big blank spot in posting around July and August every year. That’s because I live in Houston, where it’s not just hot – it’s HOT!. Add to that an old home with less than optimum air conditioning and, well, let’s just saying that cooking of any kind takes a break in the hottest part of the summer.

A couple of weeks ago, we were having 98 degree days every day, with high humidity, resulting in a heat index of 105-110 or higher. Ugh. Baking couldn’t have been further from my mind. But then some slightly cooler weather came through, Tropical Storm Hermine gave us a few days of much nicer temperatures, and suddenly Fall was on my mind! Time to bake again, baby!

Okay, so it’s still pretty hot (low to mid-90’s today), but I’m determined it’s going to be Fall soon, no matter what the thermostat says. So I’m gonna get back into the kitchen if it kills me! (and it just might!)

My poor co-workers, so spoiled after 4 years of getting home baked goodies every month for staff meeting – last month, they got donuts from the local bakery with a “too hot to bake!” note stuck to the box. There were some sad faces around the office (I notice they still ate the donuts, though). But this month, I showed up with these Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons and suddenly everyone was happy again.

These were super easy to make and delicious. One guy said they reminded him of Almond Joy (his favorite candy). Nobody else made that comparison, but there was definitely a consensus – these are winners.
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Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES? Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now.

Also see this month’s second Monthly Munchies recipe – Carrot Cupcakes w/ Orange Cream Cheese Icing.

Our April staff meeting was last Thursday, and as usual, I brought some goodies to keep everyone sweet and sugared up, to keep that meeting moving along. Both of the goodies this month were special requests from coworkers. One asked for “regular old chocolate chip cookies,” so that was an easy one!

This is my go-to chocolate chunk cookie recipe which is, so far, universally loved. This time was no exception. At my house, we almost always prefer soft, chewy cookies, and this recipe definitely falls into that category. If you like yours less soft, try swapping the amounts of the brown and white sugars, bake them a little bit longer, and take them off the baking sheet after about 5 minutes to finish cooling on a rack.

I always use chocolate chunks because I like the way they look better, plus you get bigger chunks of chocolate in each bite, but you could definitely use the same amount of regular chips.

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Fast & Easy Fresh Berry Oatmeal Bars

I have a weakness for those big containers of fresh strawberries at Sam’s Club. I know I shouldn’t buy them – they’re really too much for just a couple of people – and yet, I end up getting one almost every time I go there. I just can’t resist all those bright red berries.

Consequently, every couple of weeks, I am desperate for a way to use up a bunch of berries before they go bad. Such was the case this past Saturday. I had also been cleaning out my pantry that day, as part of the Kitchen Cure, so I was intimately familiar with what I had in the pantry and what needed to be used up.

Oatmeal + strawberries = Fresh Berry Oatmeal Bars = yummy!

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Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 228
Fat: 10g, Sat Fat: 6g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 14g
Protein: 4g

Monthly Munchies – Cherry Chocolate & Masa Spritz Cookies

basket of cookies

It’s time for Monthly Munchies again! Today is staff meeting day at my office, so I’ve once again brought a basket full of goodies to keep everyone feeling sweet.

This month’s selections both went together very quickly and easily. Of the two, I surprisingly like the Masa Spritz cookies better. I really thought I’d love the Cherry Chocolate cookies, but although quite good, they just weren’t as “wow” as I thought they’d be, and the Masa Spritz cookies are so light, buttery and addictive, I could see myself eating an entire pan full in one sitting. So they’re my favorite this month.

The Cherry Chocolate cookies come from an Epicurious.com recipe, which I followed exactly. The only thing I did differently was to use a one tablespoon cookie scoop instead of the 2 tbsp size they recommend, so I got about double the amount of the original recipe. These are rich and chocolatey, but I think that the milk chocolate (and I used some good chocolate – E. Guittard couverature milk chocolate) flavor is just lost. You really can’t taste it at all, even when you bite right into a chunk of it. So if I did these again, I’d probably swap out for semi-sweet instead and just let them be the rich chocolate cookies they are.

The Masa Spritz cookies were inspired by the French Cornmeal cookies recently seen on the Cooking Books blog. But I wanted to see if the fussiness of the original recipe (switching utensils mid-mix, etc.) was really necessary or if I could get a good result with a simpler method. I also rounded out the measurements when I doubled them, rather than adding the odd teaspoons and such that the original recipe had. And finally, since I was already messing with the recipe, I messed with it some more and used cake flour instead of AP, and I was out of regular cornmeal, so used masa harina (corn flour used for tortillas and such) instead. Whew! Fortunately, it all worked out wonderfully.

I don’t know if the end result is anything at all like the originals, but these are light, delicious and easy to make. I used a cookie press, but you could certainly use a piping bag, a cookie scoop or just a spoon. Heck, you could just pinch off little bits and roll ‘em in your hands. The dough is easy to work with, not sticky and you just need to get it onto the cookie sheet and into the oven! I’d love to try these again using lime zest instead of lemon.

Let me know if you try these and how they go for you. Enjoy!

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Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software (using my actual yield of 4 dozen)

Calories: 88
Fat: 6g, Sat Fat: 3g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 1g

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Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 34
Fat: 2g, Sat Fat: 1g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g

Masa on FoodistaMasa

Chewy Amaretti Cookies & Samoas Bars

amaretti cookiesSince I recently lost some weight, I often get asked, “How do you bake like that and still stay skinny?”

Well, I think I’m still pretty far from skinny. But the secret to not eating all the cookies or whatever is to spread it around! So, I bring goodies to the monthly staff meeting at work. That way, I eat a couple myself (just to test, of course) and give the rest away. Voila! Temptation averted.

As many of those who like to cook do, I have stacks and stacks of recipes I’d like to try. I expect that if I made 2 or 3 of them every day for the rest of my life, I’d still never get through them all. And the stacks grow every day.

Establishing this routine has given me a venue to try a couple or 3 new recipes every month. All of my coworkers know they are my guinea pigs and that I usually haven’t tried the recipes I bring, prior to that time. Occasionally, one is a complete failure. Some recipes are more popular than others. Interesting trends in eating habits are revealed. For instance, I always have more leftover cookies at the end of the day in January than any other time. Hmm, I can’t imagine why…

I have a lovely little spreadsheet to keep track of what recipes I’ve already done, but now that I have this little online spot just for me, I can share pictures and details of the recipes I try each month. Hence, Monthly Munchies is born! Care to play along?

Our staff meeting is usually held on the second Thursday of every month. So I’ll be posting that Thursday or the day after, each month, about the recipes that I make. If you’d like to do some Monthly Munchies, just send me the link to your posts and I’ll add ‘em in.

On to this month’s selections!

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Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 12
Fat: 0g, Sat Fat: 0g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g

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Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 171
Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 2g

Amaretti on FoodistaAmaretti
Girl Scout Samoa Chew Bars on FoodistaGirl Scout Samoa Chew Bars