Molasses Crinkles

We did some spring cleaning at my house yesterday, and I found a cute gingerbread man cookie cutter that I wanted to use. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough molasses to make gingerbread cookies, but a recipe on the previous page sounded tasty and used less molasses. Ironically, the recipe was submitted to the cookbook by my late great-aunt, who attended St. John Church and died a few years ago.

Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Krinkles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • egg replacer to equal one egg (I used flax eggs)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • granulated sugar to dip cookies in

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl cream the sugar and shortening. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  3. Smoosh and roll into balls, and dip the tops in the granulated sugar.
  4. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes, switching cookie sheets around halfway through.

Source: Adapted from Heartwarming Recipes, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and School

Chocolate Coconut Quinoa Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Quinoa Cookies

I’m having some friends over tomorrow night, which seemed like a good reason to finally try this recipe. These cookies came about by accident, as I neglected to note that I was supposed to let the quinoa cool before adding it to the bowl, so my chocolate chips got all melty. I think I’ll actually like this “modified” recipe better, because the chocolate flavor is present throughout the cookie  as opposed to being concentrated in bits of chocolate.

Chocolate etc Cookies 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (freshly cooked so it’s still warm)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (sweetened)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (I used Hershey’s Special Dark chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. With a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix well.
  4. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix until incorporated. Mix in the coconut and chocolate, then stir in the quinoa, making sure the chocolate chips/chunks get nice and melty.
  5. Place tablespoon-sized amounts of dough roughly 1-inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until top is firm.

Source: Adapted from Food 52

Ricotta Cookies with Almond Glaze

You probably saw the title of this post and thought “Cheese in cookies?” If it were any other type of cheese I’d be right there with ya, but ricotta is different – it’s moist,  light in flavor, and slightly sweet, which makes it the perfect addition to a batch of otherwise boring cookies.

I made these cookies a few years ago and brought them to a meeting…where they quickly disappeared. I’ve tried to make them a little bit healthier this time around, subbing in whole wheat flour and reducing the sugar a bit.

Ricotta  Cookies with Almond Glaze

Ricotta Cookies 1

Note: The cookies in this picture do not have glaze on them.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (you can sub in all-purpose or some of each)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Glaze

  • milk of your choice
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together, Add eggs, cheese, and vanilla and mix well.
  3. In another large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well.
  5. Roll the dough into teaspoon -sized balls (or larger if you prefer), and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are firm and just start to brown. Let cool briefly on pan before removing to wire cooling racks to cool further.
  7. To make glaze: mix together milk and confectioner’s sugar until glaze is consistency you desire. Add almond extract and stir. Spoon glaze over cookies or use a pastry brush for a thinner layer.

These little buggers are very addictive. I like the taste just a tiny bit more when they’re made with all-purpose flour, but I feel better about eating a bunch of them when I make them with whole wheat flour.

Source: Adapted from AllRecipes

Visions of Sugarplums (and Other Tasty Things) Danced in Their Heads

The holiday season is a great time to try out new recipes – many of us have some time off from work and are surrounded by family members and/or friends on which to test new creations. I’d been on the lookout for holiday recipes for a few weeks and found three that sounded great. These are all dairy-free recipes, the sugarplums are vegan and the thumbprint cookies can be made vegan if you sub something in for the honey (the original recipe used maple syrup, which I didn’t have on hand).

Sugarplums

Note: The sugarplums mentioned in the classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) are very different from this more modern recipe.

Sugarplum single

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) dried figs
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dried cranberries and/or dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp candied ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Topping: granulated sugar and candied ginger

Instructions

  1. Place the pecans and walnuts in a dry skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In food processor process dates, figs, cranberries/cherries, apricots, ginger, orange zest, and cooled nuts until minced. Add enough orange juice to make it all stick together.
  3. In a smaller grinder, combine sugar and candied ginger and process until uniform in size. Transfer to a small bowl and roll sugarplums in mixture before placing on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Allow the sugarplums to sit until they’re no longer sticky.

These sugarplums were a bit too tart/orange-y for me; in the future I will probably leave out the candied ginger and some of the orange zest.

Source: Slightly adapted from recipe printed in St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 12, 2013

Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • Jams, fruit butters, etc for filling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the nuts until they are whatever size you prefer. I like the nuts in these cookies minced – I like the nutty taste but don’t want to be chewing large chunks of nut. Transfer the nuts into a large bowl.
  3. Using food processor/blender, grind the oats with the salt into a coarse meal. Transfer the oats to the bowl with the nuts, then add 1 1/4 cup of flour, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup.
  4. Pour the oil into the bowl, then add the honey. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
  5. Form the dough into balls about the size of a whole walnut and place on the baking sheet.
  6. Using a small measuring spoon or your thumb, make an indentation in the middle of each ball and fill with jam, fruit butter, etc. I like to taste a bit of the filling with each bite of the cookie, so I fill them accordingly.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on pan for a few minutes. Move to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Adapted from The Kitchn

Dairy-Free Eggnog

Eggnog 1

Ingredients

  • 1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sweetener (your choice)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • freshly grated nutmeg to taste (and more for on top)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut and almond milk to about 160°F. I used a meat thermometer to gauge the temperature because that’s what I had on hand.
  2. While milk is heating to desired temperature, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until they’re light yellow. Once milk temperature has reached 160°F, pour 1 cup of the milk into egg yolks while continuing to whisk.
  3. Once the milk and eggs are fully incorporated, add the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Chill for 1 or 2 hours. I chilled the mixture in a metal mixing bowl in my garage for about an hour.
  4. When mixture is cool, pour into a blender and add the vanilla, spices and sweetener. Blend well. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg on top and enjoy.

You can add more egg yolks to this if you like a stronger egg-y flavor. You can also add your choice of alcohol to the nog if you’re in the mood for an adult beverage.

Need to use up leftover egg whites? Use them in a variety of recipes or freeze them for later use.

Source: Slightly adapted from Indian Country Today Media Network

Banana Cookies

Last week I had some cilantro to use up, and made a tasty pesto. This week, I had some overripe bananas chillin’ in the freezer and wanted to make something other than banana bread. Yea, these banana cookies are kind of banana bread in cookie form, but I think the more subtle banana flavor and spices make them even better.

Banana Cookies

Banana cookies

Makes about 30 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 to 2 1/2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups minus 4 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup walnuts (chop ’em up if you like)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream Earth Balance and sugar. Add the egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. In another bowl, mix the bananas and baking soda. Let sit for about 2 minutes.
  4. Mix the banana mixture into the Earth Balance/sugar mixture.
  5. Mix flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add to banana mixture and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold the walnuts into the batter.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto baking sheet, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool briefly on wire racks.

These cookies are good with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

I’m headed out of town on Thursday evening to attend the 2013 National NOW conference in Chicago. Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday and weekend!

Source: Adapted from SimplyRecipes.