Friday, December 21, 2012

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup candy cane powder*
1/4 cup whole milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375* F.

Line dark baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper, set aside.

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg, then vanilla until thoroughly combined. Then add in candy cane powder.
Add in approximately 1/3 of flour mixture to cream mixture, and slowly combine. Add in 1/2 of the milk, and slowly combine. Repeat. Then add the last 1/3 of flour, and mix until just barely incorporated.

Scoop dough into one inch balls, I used a tablespoon-sized scoop, and place onto cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart. The cookies will spread.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until edges are slightly golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet. Then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

*It took approximately 14 mini-candy canes.. I just threw them into a food processor and pulsed them until it was mostly powder, there were still some slightly larger chunks of candy cane-those are good!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 bag of mint chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugar, creaming well. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Stir in the mint chips. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes. You can make the dough a few hours or 2 days before baking and it will be fine. Just wrap it up and keep in the fridge.

Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet, press down on them slightly, and bake for 14-15 minutes…for a normal size cookie. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet, they will set up as they cool. Store in an air-tight container, they will stay fresh for a couple of days.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

M&M Cookie Bars

adapted from Fantastic Family Favorites

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M's, divided

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position.
Spray a 9X13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk one at a time. Next, add in vanilla and mix until combined.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined; do not overmix. Remove from mixer.

Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.