Chewy Ginger Cookies – one of my favorites during the holidays.

Unlike my Christmas cards, making cookies seems to be a perennial obsession. It doesn’t matter the season, nor the time of day —– cookies are an eternal addiction. I have to have one. Homemade are my preference, but when I’m out and about, a certain “Cookie Corner” store has the goods I need for a midday pick-me-up. During the holiday season however, my fetish for cookies peaks to new levels. My usual collection of baked goods I giveaway includes Russian Tea Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies, Calypso Cups, and Chocolate Krinkle Cookies.

These Chewy Ginger Cookies have always been a favorite of mine, and once I found this recipe, my Christmas cookie repertoire was complete. In case you’re wondering, you can find the original recipe here at Taste of Home, submitted by Bernice Smith. Thank you Bernice!

Unlike most recipes, instead of butter, we move up to the next level of fats which would be shortening. I don’t deal too much with shortening, except when it comes to certain cookie recipes. If you’re not a fan of shortening, hear me out. Don’t turn your nose up at shortening, it is needed for this type of cookie. Using butter will not be the same.

Cream together the shortening and sugar. You will be tempted to lick this mixture. You can, but it will have a somewhat greasier feeling to it. However, if you’re into tasting all things greasy, I won’t judge.

Next, you’re going to throw in more wet ingredients into this lard-fest. Molasses, vanilla, and egg will be joining this party. Turn on your mixer until everything has mixed well. Set that aside and move onto your dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, you’re going to combine a trio of spices, along with the usual flour, salt and baking soda. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon add to these cookies unique flavor. Those three spices are the essence of Christmas. Forget candles. Just bake these babies and your house will be wafting in Christmas smells.

For that reason alone, these must be Santa’s favorite. I just know it.

Mix them well. We don’t want one cookie tasting like cinnamon and the other like cloves. That would make for injustice to this recipe, and possibly lead to a ban by the Christmas Cookie Federation from ever baking a single Christmas cookie again.

I shutter to think.

Moving on.

Add your dry ingredients to your molasses mixture. Some recipes tell you to add your dry ingredient a little a time, mixing it well before adding more, but this one doesn’t. Just dump the whole thing in and turn on your mixer.

After mixing, this is what your dough will look like. It’s ready to scoop out.

So here’s your game plan. It’s a simple one. Just scoop, roll, and set. Scoop out your dough into about 1 inch balls. Next, roll it in some granulated sugar. Then set it on your baking pan.

Just in case you need a close up of the “roll” portion of the plan, here it is.

And here’s the “set”. Once you have all your dough on the pan, bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. These are one of those cookies that can be tricky to tell if they are done or not. Trust that they only need to bake for 10 minutes. They will be cooked. Any longer, and you’ll have to change the name of these cookies to Crispy Ginger Cookies. Seeing as I am person of equal rights, and if “crispy” floats your boat, then go ahead and leave those cookies in for an extra minute or two.

Don’t they look yummy. They smell so christmasy.

Next year,  you can bake these and set them out for Santa. It may get you something extra come Christmas morning.

If not, it will get you extra love from family and friends. Merry Christmas!!

 

CHEWY GINGER COOKIES

Difficulty: Easy                  Prep Time: 15 minutes                   Cook Time: 10 minutes                 Makes: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup shortening                               1 cup sugar

1 egg                                                        1/4 cup molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract                              2 cups flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon                       1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking soda                                 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cloves

Grab your large mixing bowl, cream your shortening and sugar first. Once that’s done, add in your egg, molasses, and vanilla. Combine all those together. Set that bowl aside and grab another bowl. In that “other” bowl, mix together your flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt and cloves. Then add your dry ingredients to your molasses mixture. Turn your kitchen-aid on and mix until well combined. Scoop out your dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in some extra sugar, and place on a cookie sheet. As with all cookies, do not grease the cookie sheet. Turn your oven on to 375 degrees and bake for 10 minutes for some chewy goodness.

Eat one, or two, or three. No more than three though. Pack the rest up and give them away. Your friends and family will thank you, and so will your waistline. Right now, my waistline is not talking to me. It’s mad at me because I ate more than three.

 

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things to eat in the whole wide world. When they are hot out of the oven, gooey, I’ve left the world and gone to heaven. Put a tall glass of milk next to it that I can dip it in, and you’ve taken me to another dimension. I love to explore any variation of this baked masterpiece. A friend of mine brought cookies and it had cranberries in it. Cranberries. Who’d a thunk it.

Let’s begin. Grab your basics for chocolate chip cookies.

Combine and cream.

If you’re like me, you could probably make this in your sleep. Throw the eggs and vanilla in your creamed mixture.

Cream that. This will come out extra creamy.

You’re gonna want to mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I’ve done something different. Normally, I take my quick oats and blend them into a fine powder in the blender. My problem was, my blender had  had enough and went on strike. I seem to have that problem more often than not. So I grabbed my bag of steel cut oats and used that instead.

Mix them well.

Add your dry ingredients to your non-dry ingredients.

After the dry ingredients are combined, it’s time to make your cookie dough happy. The chocolate chips are for happiness and the cranberries are for bliss.

Mix that well. We do a lot of mixing in this recipe. Just don’t get mixed up yourself. We need you to stay focused.

Scoop out your cookie dough.

Space out your cookies well. They need room to grow. Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Any longer, and they will be overcooked. Any shorter and they’ll be undercooked. I’m so glad we had this talk.

These bad boys are really good. One thing I learned about using the steel cut oats. They make these cookies, a type of “diet” cookie. You eat one and you are full for a good two hours. They are seriously filling. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad.

Quick! Go get a glass of milk. Next to oreos, chocolate chip cookies are milk’s favorite cookie. Having the cranberries in them is just an added bonus for the milk. And for you as well. Happy dipping!

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP CRANBERRY COOKIES

Difficulty: Easy                                           Prep Time: 15 minutes                                 Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings:  3 dozen

Ingredients

1 cup butter                                                                          1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla                                                                         2 eggs

2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal or steel cut oats (blend into a fine powder)

1/2 tsp salt                                                            2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder                                          1 tsp baking soda

12 oz chocolate chip cookies                        1 cup dried cranberries

So I tried to list the ingredients according to what needs to be done. With that said, take your first three ingredients: the butter and two sugars and cream together. Add your eggs and vanilla to the mix and cream some more. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients together and then add to your creamed mixture, and continue to mix some more. Once everything is combined throw in your happy ingredients: chocolate chips and cranberries. Once you’ve incorporated those ingredients, you’re ready to bake. Spoon out your cookie dough into 1 inch balls on your cookie sheet, placing them an inch apart from each other. They need the room to grow.  Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. No more, no less. Once they are out of the oven, pour yourself a glass of milk while you try to patiently wait for the cookies to come down to a temperature that does not burn the first 2 layers of your tongue. Dip your cookie and enjoy!

Macaroons – With a Little Extra Something

When I was a young mom in my early 20’s, I had a lady from church visit me once a month. Almost every time she came, she would always bring me Chocolate Dipped Macaroons. That was my introduction to macaroons. I loved it! I asked her for the recipe and she gladly shared it with me. I remember trying to make it and they just did not come out like hers. Now the reason they did not turn out could be one of two things. One, I was just young and dumb and didn’t know what I was doing and had no business having such a yummy recipe. Two, I was just young and dumb and didn’t know what I was doing. I guess we figured out why I didn’t know how to make the macaroons. It was my ineptness at cooking at the time. I still have that recipe and need to try it again. In the meant time, I cheated.

Have you heard of this product?! It’s kind of awesome. This company makes all sorts of freeze dried items that you can use in your cooking and will last a loooooong time, meaning it won’t go bad before you finish using it. Among their veggies and fruits, they have desserts. I’ve had this can of macaroon mix for a while. Because of my past experience with macaroons, I was hesitant to try. One night I cracked open the can and got to work. I have two words for you: EASY and DELICIOUS!

Measure out the amount of mix you want and stir in some hot water.

Stir it until it becomes all moist.

Then let it sit for 5 minutes. That’s it. No eggs to deal with, no “folding” in of ingredients. I don’t know why we have to “fold” things in cooking. I hate folding, which is why I have a perpetual mountain of laundry in my room 5 days out 7. The other reason is because I have more than the national average number of children in my home.

Grab your handy-dandy cookie scooper and put them on your cookie sheet.

If you like coconut, it may be hard to NOT eat the batter at this point. It’s quite yummy.  But try, or you’ll be sad when they’re done cooking. Once you’ve summoned up enough will power to stop eating the batter, put these bad boys in the oven for 15 minutes.

Now, I had to recreate the macaroons that first fell in love with. I had to give them that extra kick. So if you have a good macaroon recipe and know how to use it, here’s an added extra to make it that much more delisioso! All I did was melt some chocolate chips in a double boiler. If you don’t have said “double boiler”, you can definitely improvise like me. I just took a small pot and filled it with water, turned up the heat so that the water could boil. Then I put a heat-proof bowl on there with the chocolate chips. Just stir it around until it melts. The other thing you could do is nuke it in the microwave.

I added just a touch of vegetable oil to give the chocolate a shinier look.

It’s so hard not to just pop one of these in your mouth. You can, or you could bump up the yummo factor just a notch. Just in case you’re wondering, they really aren’t burnt. I think it’s the shadows. No, really.

So I put my melted chocolate in a ziplock bag and then cut off the tip.

Then I just squeezed that chocolate on till I was satisfied with the end product.

They look so fancy.

Mmmmmmm. I wish I had some right now. I think I’m going to go dig up that recipe and give it another try. If you have a macaroon recipe that you are already skilled at, this is just an idea of what you can do with them. I love this line of food so much, I actually became a consultant for them. If you want to do it the easy way, you can order some here from my consultant website. If you order the mix, the instructions are right on the can. As far as the chocolate drizzle, I just melted about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Yesterday, I was in a bind. My son wanted double chocolate chip cookies to give to his classmates for his birthday. The problem: I didn’t have any cocoa powder and I didn’t have a car. What was  a girl to do? I delved into my pantry hoping that by some miracle, I would have what I needed. Enter the Devil’s Food Cake Mix. Kind of ironic, don’t you think. I had never made cookies out of cake mix, but had heard rumors that it was possible. I searched for a recipe, found this one from kirbiecravings.com, and got to work.

Here’s what you will need: OIL, CAKE MIX (ANY CHOCOLATE TYPE WILL DO), AND EGGS. Love these kinds of recipes.

Use a spoon to mix because the cookie dough is always thick.

Once you’ve got it to the desired thickness, and you feel the need to amp up your chocolate meter to insane, add your chocolate chips.

Mix these babies well.

Once they’re mixed well, get a spoon or one of these fancy-fangled cookie scoopers, and start scooping them onto your cookie sheet.

I’ve never owned one of these things till recently. If you’ve ever thought of buying one, I definitely recommend it. For these cookies, I actually double-scooped it, just to make them bigger. The kids in Hawaii are bigger in stature than most. When you’re all done, put them in the oven at 350 and bake for 12 minutes.

They will look soft when you first take them out, like they’re not done, but they are. Once they cool off, they will firm up and look more like they’re cooked.

If you are not suffering from a chocolate attack, and are willing to share, then pack them up and hand them out to the neighborhood kids. They’ll elect you president if you do.

 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX COOKIES

Difficulty: Soooo Easy                     Prep Time: 5 minutes                   Cook Time: 12 minutes

Servings: 36 cookies

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix                               1/3 cup and 1 Tbsp oil

2 eggs                                                                       1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together, except chocolate chips. If your dough is too thick, add a little more oil till you have your desired thickness. Next, add chocolate chips. Combine it well. Form into one inch balls and set on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Take them out of them oven, let them cool and eat.