Peanut Blossom Cookies

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Nothing welcomes in the holiday season quite like Peanut Blossom cookies. I have finally perfected the art of cooking these finicky cookies, since you have to make sure they are mostly cooked before placing the kiss on top, but not under-cooked or over-cooked. I remember well the year that I burnt the whole first batch. I will admit that I was so upset that I actually flipped a few of them behind the refrigerator. Thankfully I have not had the need to become violent with my cookies since that unfortunate incident, since figuring out the tricks to cooking them just right. One of the main cookie cooking tips that I have is to place the cookie sheet onto a hot pizza stone for baking, along with the cookies being placed onto parchment paper. For this batch my husband had  purchased the dark chocolate Hershey’s kiss and after using them I doubt I can go back to making these with milk chocolate kisses. I do not like milk chocolate as a general rule, and these dark chocolate kisses add a bit more zing to an already delicious cookie. I also added another scoopful of peanut butter to amp up the peanut buttery taste. 

Peanut Blossom Cookies

1/4 C. lard

1/4 C. butter

1/2 C. + 2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter 

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 C. brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 1/3 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 bag dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Cream together the butter, lard, and peanut butter. If not using lard replace with 1/4 C. butter. Add in the sugars, vanilla, and egg, creaming for a couple of minutes on lower speed.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients. Add slowly to the mixture in the mixer. 
  • Once the batter is made roll into small balls, aprox. 2″, and roll in extra granulated sugar. Place the round ball onto the parchment paper on the cookie sheet. 
  • Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, until almost cooked all the way, and remove from the oven. Push a Hershey kiss into the center of each cookie, and bake for another 1.5-2 minutes. 

My sister gave me her recipe, which I have adapted, though I am not sure where she got it from. 

My Mother-in-Law’s Super Sugar Cookies

I never knew just how lucky I would be when I married my husband. Not only because he is the most wonderful man in the world, perfect for me in every way, but because his mother is a fantastic cook/baker and has a plethora of recipes. This is one of the great recipes that I married into. My husband’s sugar cookies are the best- he did get the recipe from his mother after all. 

My Mother-in-Law’s Super Sugar Cookies

1 stick of butter

1 C. lard

2 C. granulated sugar

2 tsp. almond flavoring

4 eggs, one at a time until blended

5 C. flour

2 tsps. Baking powder

2 tsp. salt

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream the first 4 ingredients together until smooth, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer.
  • Sift Together dry ingredients and then resift 2 more times.
  • Add dry ingredients to cookie batter in the Kitchen Aid and blend well.
  • Chill for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Roll out to ¼” thickness onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.

*This recipe is doubled. Cut in half if you do not want so many cookies. We just LOVE frosted sugar cookies out of the freezer. They keep very well in the freezer, and last a long time. 

Sugar Cookie Frosting

1 stick butter

4 C. sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp. almond flavoring

½ tsp. kosher salt

whipping cream to consistency

food coloring if desired

  • Cream butter, salt and flavoring until light and fluffy.  Mix in powdered sugar.
  • Add whipping cream a little at a time until proper consistency.  Frost and decorate as desired.

Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

*I have revised this cookie recipe slightly. I am tired of making the chocolate cookies that fall to bits and pieces after they are cooked. Trying to find the right consistency for the batter so that the cookies hold together has not been simple. I think, though, that I have finally solved the problem. I added another egg- making a total of 3 eggs, and took away the milk. I did not put the batter in the refrigerator, but I think chilling the batter would help it firm up and make getting the dough onto the sheet much easier. I ended up with sticky dough all over my fingers after shaping the dough the best I could, though what I really need is a cookie scoop. That item has made its way onto my essential kitchen equipment list- someday.

My husband bought me some mint and chocolate chips that were on sale once the Christmas season had ended. Unfortunately, this bag is, seasonal- as I have not seen them any other time of the year, because they were delicious! I simply made the cookie recipe on the bag and the resulting cookie was chocolate, almost cake-like in texture, with the soft bite of the mint and chocolate morsel. I made this same recipe my own way with a bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate morsels and it is a chocolatey delight! I am thinking I should add Health toffee pieces, pretzels, nuts, white chocolate pieces, peanut butter chips, and all sorts of other goodies to this delicious cookie recipe.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C. All purpose flour

2/3 C. Hershey’s cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. softened butter

2/3 C. granulated sugar

2/3 C. packed dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla

3 large eggs

1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, or Andes Mint Chocolate chips

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream together butter and lard.
  • Meanwhile, sift together dry ingredients. I like to get my cocoa powder into the measuring cup with a spoon over wax paper, so what falls on the counter I can add back into the container easily. Otherwise I end up with a cocoa counter mess.
  • Add both sugars to the butter in the Kitchen Aid, followed by the vanilla and eggs.
  • Add milk until the dough is the correct consistency: slightly wet and sticky. The cocoa powder makes the dough a tad dry ad the cookies crumble when they are done. I am trying to modify the recipe to be less crumbly, though the humidity in the East does contribute to the crumbly-ness of the cookies.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips, spoon them onto the parchment paper.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. Pat down the puffed cookies with the back of the spatula once they come out of the oven. Use a knife, or other utensil, to help get the cookie onto the cooling rack without it falling apart.
Adapted from the Very Best Baking recipe online for Mint Chocolate Delights. 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 My husband used to be the best cookie maker in the family, but I think I have finally gotten the hang of baking and am getting closer to surpassing his delicious cookies. This fact must seem strange considering he cannot eat them, but he learned baking at the feet of his mother and inherited the gene for it, so even though he can’t taste them, he sure makes them. I still have yet to try making the sugar cookies, but I am confident that I can do it. When it comes to the basic chocolate chip cookie I have stuck with the classic Toll House recipe for years. I love it, and so does my family, but I wanted to try a new recipe. Growing up it was my sister who was the family cookie maker. She ever got the phrase, “If Sara doesn’t make ’em, I won’t take ’em” from a friend of mine from the neighborhood.

My tips for fantastic cookies:

A.) I enjoy browning the butter to bring out the rich flavor of the butter, however the next time I will definitely return to my normal combining the butter with the lard. The flavor is incredibly rich and buttery, very delicious, but I think I will tone it down a bit the next time.

B.) Always bake the cookies on an air bake cookie sheet, on parchment paper. I have also found that using the baking stone for cookies really helps them cook evenly. Ever since I figured out the best way to cook them my cookies suddenly became miraculously delicious. Now I have been working on the recipes to make the ultimate cookies because who doesn’t love a good cookie?

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 Tbs. butter, browned*

1/2 C. granulated sugar

1/2 C. light brown sugar

1/2 C. dark brown sugar

2 C. + 2 Tbs. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

12 oz. dark chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • *Brown the butter by melting it in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir it constantly, watching for it to stop foaming. It should turn a darker color and begin to have a nutty aroma. Take it off the heat before it burns and allow it to cool before beating it with the sugar. For a good explanation of how to brown butter go here
  • Sift together the flour, salt and soda.
  • Beat the sugar and brown butter together. Add the eggs and vanilla. 
  • Add in the flour mixture and chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 11 minutes. They might need to be slightly patted down when they come out of the oven.
Adapted from a variety of chocolate chip cookie recipes- here, here and the classic here

Oatmeal-Jam Bars

I am turning into that mom that always has homemade cookies for her children. My daughter asks me on a regular basis if I am going to make her some cookies. While lately her preference has run to Snickerdoodle cookies, I was going to make her some chocolate chip cookies today. It’s been a while since we have had good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies, and I was in the mood to eat them. When I went to the cupboard to get out the chocolate chips that I was sure were in there imagine my surprise when there they weren’t. I tend to get flustered in the kitchen and when anything goes wrong with what I had planned on I can’t think beyond that for a few moments. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who, when I went out to tell him that there were no chocolate chips in the cupboard, said, “Why don’t you make those oatmeal jam cookies you wanted to try?” Oh yeah, they were on my list of recipes to try. Have I mentioned that I love having him around? 

The Oatmeal-Jam bar cookies turned out great, and I look forward to messing around with this already terrific recipe. My daughter isn’t up yet for her nap, but I look forward to getting her opinion on them. Anything with oatmeal can’t be all that bad for you, right?

Oatmeal-Jam Bars

1/2 C. butter

6 Tbs. lard

1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 C. oats

12-oz preferred jam*

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Sift together flour, powder and salt; mix in oatmeal and brown sugar. I like to get my hands a little dirty so I did all the mixing, other than the sifting, by hand. 
  • Cut in the butter and lard (or all butter, if you prefer) and mix until it is fully incorporated, and makes little balls. 
  • Butter a 13 x 9 pan, and press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the pan as evenly as you can. 
  • Spread the jam over the top. 
  • Sprinkle the remainder of the oatmeal mixture over the top and lightly press down, making sure not to squish the jam out the top. 
  • Bake until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. I baked mine for 37.5 minutes on the baking stone that seems to always be in the oven. I love the baking stone. 🙂 
*I made mine with 2 different jams: Strawberry Preserves on one half, and my Aunt’s fantastic Cinnamon-Pear jam on the other half. Personally I think that the Strawberry jam, while delicious, is a bit too sticky sweet for my taste. I loved the Cinnamon-Pear jam, and look forward to trying these with the jar of Elderberry jam I have sitting in the cupboard. I also want to try adding some cinnamon and pecans to the oatmeal mixture. 
 
Barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Snickerdoodles

My husband was wondering why Snickerdoodle cookies do not have Snicker’s bars in them. Good question with no good answer. I guess, really, the best answer is that Snickerdoodle cookies are simplistic, yet yummy. My daughter simply adored the batch I made yesterday and that is what truly matters. I already have a husband who does not eat sweets, no tomato based sauces, most fruits, brown sugar, molasses, and honey, or many vegetables; I do not want to lose my daughter to her father’s way of eating just yet. When I make a wonderful sweet from love I wish my whole family could enjoy it, but I will have to settle for one daughter enjoying it right now. Plus, after having had 2 children I do not need anything extra finding its way onto my body to stay awhile. At my husband’s request I did not roll out the last few cookies in the cinnamon-sugar mixture so he could eat a little bit. Not much, just a little. These cookies are a great use for my cream of tartar, too, which is difficult to find a use for other than meringue.

Snickerdoodles

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 C. lard

1 1/2 C. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 tsp. almond extract*

1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 C. granulated sugar

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  • Cream butter and lard in electric stand mixer.
  • Sift together dry ingredients.
  • Add sugar and eggs into butter/lard mixture.
  • Mix in dry ingredients. Roll dough into aprox. 2″ balls.
  • Roll the cookie balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet on top of parchment paper. 
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. 
  • *Completely optional. I added it to give the cookie a little more flavor. 
Adapted from Melskitchencafe.com. 

Blonde Mint Chip Cookies

 My daughter wanted me to make her some cookies. I found a recipe for Snickerdoodles I wanted to try, but I gave her the choice between those and these Blonde Mint Chip cookies that I made up with the help of the basic Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. She chose these cookies and she was right, they are good! 

Blonde Mint Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 C. butter (1 stick)

1/2 C. lard

3/4 C. granulated sugar

3/4 C. packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. mint extract (optional)

2 large eggs

2 C. Andes Mint Chips

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
  • Beat the butter and lard together.
  • Sift dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Gradually add the sugar. Then beat in the extract and eggs.
  • Add the dry ingredients, and the mint chips.
  • Cook on parchment paper lined sheet for 9-11 minutes. They hold together and taste a bit better (in my opinion) lightly browned on the top. So until the last batch I cooked them on the longer side.

Adapted from the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies recipe. 

Meringue Cookies

I made my delicious Lemon Meringue pie the other day, and my daughter only wanted to eat the pie crust and the meringue. She has not yet acquired the taste for the lemon filling yet. I do like my filling extra tangy, so maybe the taste is a bit mature for her taste buds. This is the same daughter, however, who licks the flour off of the bottom of her pizza and calls it “frosting”. If it looks like powdered sugar or frosting she loves it. So I started to think that she might enjoy Meringue cookies, which I have never made before. So I set out to find a recipe that we would enjoy. After all the looking and reading I ended up making up my own recipe. This is approximately what I did. I tend to eyeball additions like nuts and chocolate, and you can add or subtract what you like. 

Meringue Cookies

3 egg whites

2/3 C. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 C. chopped slivered almonds (Could add more)

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  • Beat the egg whites. Add cream of tartar after frothy.
  • Halfway through add sugar a few tablespoons at a time. In the middle of the sugar add the vanilla. 
  • Beat until the egg whites make stiff peaks and look glossy. 
  • Fold in nuts and chocolate. 
  • Put in dollops onto parchment paper. 
  • Place in the oven and turn it off. Let the cookies sit in the cooling oven for at least 2 hours, preferably more. 

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This recipe for Oatmeal Raisin cookies are as vintage as the butter spotted notecard they were written on in my mother’s cursive handwriting. I wish that I was making them while wearing a dress, heels and the proverbial pearl necklace of the 1950’s housewife. These wonderful chewy cookies remind me of my childhood. I think my appreciation for them has grown as I have become an adult because, let’s face it, I would rather have been eating chocolate chip cookies rather than something that seemed healthy. No matter whether they seem healthy or not they are delicious- and it never hurts to eat something delicious that has more health benefits than so many other sweets I could make. 

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 C. sifted flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 C. shortening, softened (I usually use 1/2 C. lard & 1/4 C. butter)

1 C. firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 C. Oats, uncooked (5 min. oats)

1 C. raisins

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Sift together dry ingredients.
  • Beat shortening for a few minutes before adding sugar, eggs, & vanilla.
  • Add in dry ingredients.
  • Mix in oats and raisins.
  • Drop by aprox. tablespoonful onto parchment paper on an air bake cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. I like to use a metal spatula to remove the cookies from the parchment paper so it is nice and clean to use for the next batch of cookies.