National Sugar Cookie Day, folks!
IMG_20160709_122037I hope you’re celebrating along with me, because these are one of life’s little simple culinary pleasures. I’m not much for “secret” ingredients usually, but this recipe kind of has some; believe me, if you skip them, you’ll miss them! That teeny pinch of cinnamon and squirt of lemon juice are not obvious when you eat a cookie, but add that little extra *what* that give these soft and chewy sugar cookies a bit more dimension. Let’s get baking!

Thin, crisp, butterry, CHEWY!

Thin, crisp, buttery, CHEWY!


Sugar Cookies

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 c.sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.baking soda
1 heaping tsp. kosher salt
1 small pinch of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 large egg
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Combine the butter, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Start on low speed to combine, then kick it up to medium and cream until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.

In the bowl it looks like this...

In the bowl it looks like this…


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Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula. Add the egg and continue to cream the mixture on medium an additional 5 minutes, then scrape the bowl down again. Add the flour a 1/2 c. at a time on low speed and mix just until everything is well combined.
Roll the dough into Tbsp.-sized balls, and place on a paper-lined sheet pan. Bake until crispy on the outer edge but still pretty soft in the center, and light golden brown.
Obligatory cooling rack pic

Obligatory cooling rack pic

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Let them cool just enough so they don’t burn your tongue, then eat with reckless abandon.

True confession: I have an addiction I feel I may need to get under control. It’s these, people.

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Community cookbooks are piling up in the corners of my home, beckoning to me from the bookshelves, and calling out to me from any thrift shop, estate sale, and used book store I might be in close proximity to. Before there was recipe-sharing websites, Instagram, and Facebook, people showed off their star recipes in soft cover spiral-bound collections, rife with typos, oddball names, and corrections pages.
I’m selective. If the recipes in one lean heavily on boxed cake mix, shortening, or obsolete bottled spice blends, I’ll throw it back in the pile. And move on to the next and the next until I find the one or six that I can’t live without.
The pay-off is recipes like Macnutbutter Coffee Bars, which I probably wouldn’t have thought of, but am so happy to have found. I’ve messed around with the recipe a little bit but it is mostly faithful to the original version. Whoever the recipe belongs to, thanks for sharing!

Macnutbutter Coffee Bars

1 c. roasted macadamia nuts (not salted)
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c. rolled oats
1 Tbsp ground coffee (the finest grind you can manage)

1/3 c. chocolate chips
1 c. macadamia nuts, chopped, for garnish
1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp. powdered milk

Preehat the oven to 350F. Line a 9″x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Put the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth butter forms.

Too chunky. Keep twirlin'.

Too chunky. Keep twirlin’.

Remove 1/4 c. of the nut butter and reserve for later.

Way better. This doesn't look like very much, but trust me, it's plenty. Take out that 1/4 cup.

Way better. This doesn’t look like very much, but trust me, it’s plenty. Take out that 1/4 cup.


Add the softened butter and continue to run the machine until fully incorporated. Add the sugars and process again. Have you scraped the bowl with a rubber spatula yet? If not you’re overdue, so scrape down the sides and across the bottom. Sift together the dry ingredients, and them to the nut mixture, and process just until a soft dough comes together.

Okay, can we talk a minute about using the food processor for mixing what is pretty much just blondie dough? I know I don’t have any other recipes that do that. I have one thing to say to the originator of this recipe.

RESPECT.

Anyhoo, add the oats and pulse about ten times to combine.

This is the part where I start giggling, for I cannot help myself. I kind of love my Cuisinart right now.

This is the part where I start giggling, for I cannot help myself. I kind of love my Cuisinart right now.


Spread into the prepared pan. Sift the coffee evenly over the top and place in the oven.
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Bake 25-28 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the middle is just set (but still a little soft).
Immediately sprinkle the chocolate on top, allow to melt, and spread evenly.

Add the second cup of macadamia nuts to the top. Mix the remaining 1/4 c. macadamia butter, milk powder, and confectioner’s sugar together in a small bowl. Mix in water, in small additions, until just thin enough to drizzle onto the bars, then apply.

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Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 even squares, then eat them. All of them.

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Can we safely say that we have hit cookie season? I don’t think anyone has made that term official, but let’s just say we’re there. And the thought makes me so happy.

Are you feeling perhaps a little stuck as far as what to make? No judgement- this is my third batch of cookies this week, and I’m getting a little fuzzy-brained over here. I nearly missed a holiday potluck last night because I didn’t have time to make another batch of cookies, only to realize at the very last minute that I had dough from a previousproject in the freezer. Evening saved! There are just so damn many articles out there right now if you are looking for a little inspiration, but my favorite one hands down is the Washington Post Cookie Generator. Enter an ingredient you wish to use, and the WashPo’s cookie database will spit out a list of recipes to use. I mean to tell you, it is brilliant.

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Espresso Orange Snickerdoodles

8 oz. (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 Tbsp. candied orange peel, very finely chopped
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. espresso powder

Preheat the oven to 375F.

On medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg, then the egg yolk. Stir the vanilla and espresso powder together until dissolved. Add to the butter mixture. Add the orange peel, flour, tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed until evenly combined. Remove from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before baking.

Combine the remaining 1/4 c. of sugar, cinnamon, and espresso powder in a medium bowl. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized pieces and roll into balls. Dredge each ball in the sugar mixture and place onto paper or silicon mat-lined sheet pans.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until the edges are light golden and slightly crispy and centers are very soft but dry.

Allow to cool slightly, then eat with reckless abandon.

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If you grew up in my house, a bowl of oatmeal was never served naked. A not-very-sensibly sized pat of salted butter nestled in the center with an equally-sized spoonful of brown sugar sprinkled of top of that…perhaps some sliced banana…steam wafting up, too hot to eat right away… whoosh, that’s good.

Until about mid-way through. Things begin to cool off. The bulk of the toppings are gone. The bottom of the bowl hasn’t been revealed yet, and already things are congealing into spackle.

Being that today is National Oatmeal Day, I’m showing some appreciation with a cookie variation that brings back the childhood memories and a wee teeny bit of excitement. If you haven’t put bananas in your oatmeal cookies yet, you’ve been missing out my friend. So there are no illusions of health benefits, I tossed in a bunch of English toffee to whet your whistle.

Which leads me to ask, ever had Banoffee before?

Banoffee is a singularly British creation whose magic somehow eludes us stateside. Think banana cream pie, but instead of cream you float those nanners in toffee. Yes. TOFFEE. It is a messy good time. You can’t walk down the street and eat it at the same time, though. People will stare, and not in an admiring, “you’ve got it goin’ on” (I’m bringing that phrase back, you’re welcome) sort of way. No, more of a “look at that tragic little person with no fork or plate” sort of way.

So, cookies. Easy to carry while remaining approachable to others. They may even ask you for one.

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Banoffee Oat Cookies

English toffee*
1/4 c. (1/2 a stick) butter
1/3 + 1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp water
1 tsp kosher salt

Banana-oat cookies
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
a scant 1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F

For the toffee:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water and stir. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring ocassionally, to a medium caramel color, which will be around (but not beyond) 300F.
Immediately pour the toffee onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and allow to cool to room temperature. Using a rolling pin or other blunt tool, break into small peppercorn-sized bits.
Set aside.

For the cookies:

Pour all but 1/2 c. of the oats into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a very coarse meal. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the banana, then the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add those to the banana mixture an stir on low until mostly combined. Add the crushed toffee bits and stir again until fully combined.

Remove from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic, and allow to chill for at least 1 hour before baking.

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Scoop into walnut-sized balls, flatten slightly, and bake until golden (about 12-14 minutes).

Eat with reckless abandon.

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