Vanilla Cookies with Chocolate

Some lovely friends of mine gave me a bottle of homemade vanilla for the holidays and it smells so good I want to use it as perfume. I restrained myself and just made cookies that highlight the wonderful vanilla flavor.

These are super basic vanilla cookies into which I chopped some bittersweet chocolate very fine because, why not? Use a baking bar as it will shave a little as you chop so that there are small bits of chocolate distributed throughout.

Crispy outside but still chewy and just enough chocolate to satisfy. The vanilla flavor comes through to make one delicious cookie.

Vanilla Cookies with Grated Chocolate

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 oz bittersweet chocolate baking bar, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate just until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and place 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Cinnamon Chocolate Stars

I was in a cookie making mood on Sunday. I started by baking some Toll House chocolate chip cookies (thank you, Ruth Wakefield!). I only baked half the batch and proceeded to eat the other half of dough raw, ’cause the Saints playing against the Titans drove me to it!

I then went on to make some very chocolate cookies with just a hint of heat and a punch of cinnamon. I used my Mexican vanilla to add even more cinnamon flavor.

These are crisp and light cookies with a lot of chocolate flavor. The tiny bit of cayenne just enhances the chocolate. Perfect for the chocoholics in your life!

Cinnamon Chocolate Stars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, coca, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cayenne (if using). Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add in egg and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Dived the dough in half and place on plastic wrap. Shape into a disc and then refrigerate for an hour.

Place the cooled dough between sheets of parchment paper and roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut into desired shape – I like stars. Place cut shapes on baking trays and reroll scraps until all the dough has been cut into cookies.

Place back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Cover if you aren’t going to bake them right away.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating the pans midway through cooking. Let cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies before baking:

Stars fell on New Orleans last night

Chocolate Pistachio Slice and Bake Cookies

I found a bag of pistachio nuts in my parents’ pantry and, with my current chocolate craving, decided I just had to make cookies.

Whenever I make these, I divide the dough into two rolls and freeze one for later slicing, baking and eating.

Big pistachio and deep chocolate flavor. So very yummy.

Chocolate Pistachio Slice and Bake Cookies

1 ½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup shelled, chopped roasted pistachio nuts
coarse salt for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixing, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla and then scrape down the bowl. Add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the pistachios.

Divide the dough in half and place on plastic wrap and then wrap into logs. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator. If you are taking it from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Unwrap the dough and cut into ½ inch rounds. Set on baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with coarse salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the centers appear set. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

I was really craving chocolate and was happily munching on a Fun-sized Snickers when my hind brain went, “Wait just a minute! Why don’t you put one of those in a chocolate chip cookie?”

I love my brain.

I cut each fun size I could rescue from the maw of my parents into 6 pieces. I ended up with a cup of Snickers pieces.

Definitely refrigerate the dough, as it will spread a bit more when it isn’t cold, making for thinner, less chewy cookies.

The cookies are really good – the caramel and nuts was a lovely addition.

Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 cup fun-sized Snickers, each candy cut into 6 pieces

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and Snickers.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 1 hour. It can be stored for up to 3 days before use.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Drop rounded tablespoon of cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

I owed my friend Charlotte some cookies and her only request was chocolate and pecans. I browsed through my recipes and decided to go sinfully decadent with truffle cookies. These are soft cookies with such a rich flavor of chocolate from the melted to the added chips. I’ve got to say the addition of toasted, chopped pecans to them are a real treat.

I used Ghirardelli bittersweet and semi-sweet baking chips in this recipe. I love the taste and texture they add to the cookies.

I really like the flakes in Maldon Sea Salt, so that it what I used to sprinkle on top. A crisp bite of salt in each large flake, so you use a smaller amount than with a less coarse sea salt.

Darkly rich with a soft texture, these are definitely the cookie for chocolate lovers.

Chocolate Pecan Truffle Cookies

3 cups bittersweet morsels
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup semisweet morsels, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
2 -3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool slightly.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt to combine. Set aside

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture, mixing to combine. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is too warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Chill for 10-15 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with a pinch of flaked sea salt. Bake for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Do not over bake cookies because they will continue to bake as they cool once removed from the oven. Cookies will be soft and gooey in the center.

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

I come from a long line of oatmeal cookies aficionados. I usually make a few batches for my folks any time I spend more than a weekend at their house. This time, is no exception. I made this batch with pecans instead of raisins.

Sometimes raisins can be a little too much sweet. In contrast, these cookies are nutty and delicious.

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and the sugars. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and mix well. Add in pecans and oats. Stir well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Pecan Meringues

I was feeling a craving for something cinnamony and pecany and decided to try something I found in an old recipe pamphlet of holiday desserts I picked up at a flea market. It didn’t have either an oven temp or a time – just the instruction to bake until done. Luckily, I’ve done meringues before so I had a method to use.

Good thing, too that I had a lot of pecans – Michelle’s mom had collected over 5 five gallon buckets of pecans from the tree in their front yard that we shelled and toasted and packaged up to be stored in the freezer, ready to be used.

This recipe does take a while – you are whipping the egg whites for a while and the bake time is at least two hours. Your patience is rewarded, though. These meringues have excellent flavor and crunch.

Cinnamon Pecan Meringues

6 egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb pecans

Toast pecans and then pulse in a food processor until ground. Set aside.

Whip egg whites and salt until stiff. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time – it should take about 14 minutes to add it all in. Mix in cinnamon. Fold in ground pecans.

Place mixture in a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with one corner cut out) and pipe out dollops on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 175 for at least 2 hours. Finished meringues will release from the pan and be crunchy throughout. Turn off the oven and let gradually cool in the oven as the oven cools.

Store in an airtight container.

You can’t pop just one!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Another weekend, another peanut butter and chocolate craving. This time, I’m going to try thumbprint cookies.

Now, the nice lady from whom I got the recipe made these teeny, tiny divots and used only the barest amount of filling per cookie. Not me. The first thing I did when making them was double the filling recipe. Even though my cookies crack a little more from the deeper indention, it is worth it to have the extra filling.

I’m out of corn syrup so I did a one for one substitution with cane syrup. Had I wanted a slightly more neutral flavor, I could have used agave nectar instead.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon praline pecan liquor (or vanilla)

Chocolate Filling:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons cane syrup (or corn syrup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the peanut butter, egg and liquor (or vanilla), mixing well after each addition. Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1 inch balls. Place at least 1 inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Use a pestle or the back of a spoon to make indentions in each of the cookies. Switch and rotate pans when returning to the oven. Bake for 6 minutes more. When you remove from the oven, you may need to remake the indentions. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt together over a water bath the chocolate, butter, and syrup. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Use a spoon to fill each indention with the chocolate. Let the chocolate filling cool and harden completely – you can put the cookies in the fridge to speed that process up.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I wanted some cookies but I couldn’t decided between oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip. So, I made the best of both worlds with these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

Chop the pecans pretty fine, so you get nuts in every bite.

Don’t be like me and grab the 1/3 cup measure when measuring the oatmeal – I thought I had put my hand on the 1/4 cup so I ended up with 2/3rds cups more oats than planned. The cookies were still delicious, they just were more oatie than planned (and Michelle seems to like them better that way). On second thought, maybe be like me.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 – 10 ounce package bittersweet chocolate morsels
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350° degrees F

Place flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a large mixing bowl beat together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

Slowly beat in the flour. Then add oats, bittersweet morsels and nuts and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 13 minutes for chewy cookies and 15 minutes for crispy cookies.

Allow cookies to cool 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

Cinnamon Chocolate Pepper Cookies

I’m still in a holiday baking mood, so I made these spicy chocolate rounds that are almost like eating a cup of Mexican hot chocolate in cookie form. I dusted some with cinnamon sugar and others with red and green sanding sugar. They’ve got a sneaky little bite to them from the black and cayenne peppers, so make sure you have a tall glass of milk handy when eating.

Instead of vanilla, I added some Rum Chata. The mixture of rum, cream and spices gave the cookies a delicious twist.

Cinnamon Chocolate Pepper Cookies

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Rum Chata (or Mexican vanilla)
cinnamon sugar and sanding sugar

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and peppers. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the Rum Chata (or vanilla) and then slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.

Divide the dough in half and form into six inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to firm for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a shallow plate, place cinnamon sugar or sanding sugar.

Working with one roll at a time, either cut rounds off the roll of chilled dough or roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Gently toss the cookies in the sugar to evenly coat. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating pan midway through. Edges will look dry when done. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an air tight container.