Sunday, November 13, 2011

cookie-crazed & homemade for the holidays

I've been on a cookie-baking hiatus the past week.

Something about baking cookies just makes me feel extremely domestic. Heck, I even made meatloaf & mashed 'taters this weekend. I'm just a regular Susie Homemaker in the making...

My cookie binge began with the announcement of my seasonal Homemade for the Holidays promotion wherein clients can

treat loved ones, friends, family and neighbors with homemade confections from Linguine and Dirty Martinis.

L&DM will create your favorite holiday treats in the comfort of your home: seasonal confections will be prepared, packaged, and elegantly labeled in your home kitchen just in time for holiday cheer!

Treats will be tucked in cellophane bags, mason jars or gift boxes with holiday twine and will feature one-of-a-kind letterpress tags from local Blue Eye Brown Eye.

[photo courtesy of Lauren Essl]

Clients can pick from an array
of menu items in categories including:

[ jams, jellies, compotes
& pickled delights ]

[ candies, chocolates & barks ]

[ sweet & salty baked treats ]

Click here to view complete menu and email me to place your holiday order!

One of my favorite sweets on the holiday menu are these delicate, crumbly and buttery bites perfect for a chilly evening nightcap:

Off-to-Bed Butter Cookies with Fleur de Sel

yields approximately 24 cookies

1.5 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (French sea salt)
1.5 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or pure extract)
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar

Stir together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, vanilla, almond and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing, and continue to mix until batter just comes together in clumps. Gather clumps to form a dough, then press dough into a smooth 1 1/4-inch log on a lightly floured work surface. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut chilled loaf crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Brush tops of cookies with cream then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until edges are pale golden, 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on racks.

I also recipe-tested these whimsical "Ranger" cookies just in time for Veterans Day. Ranger Cookies, also known as Cowboy Cookies, are traditionally made with a mixture of pecans, oats, coconut and chocolate chips.

I used a variation of flavor additions from the traditional recipe, but upheld using shortening as the main fat source. Although shortening doesn't have the delicious flavor of butter, it makes cookies very tender.

Ranger Cookies with Bittersweet
& Butterscotch Chips, Oats & Toasted Hazelnuts

yields approximately 24 cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line hazelnuts on a sheet pan. Toast for 3-5 minutes until light brown and fragrant.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add oats, bittersweet chocolate, butterscotch and hazelnuts, mix until combined. Spoon cookie mixture onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes (your cookies will look underdone), then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Cheers to holiday cookies! More baking to come...



Tates said...

The baking cookies are very nice and good. I love to prepare cookies for the occasions and when i get free time.

Callie Salls said...

Me too! It's always nice to have those few extra hours (or day!) when you can bake for leisure.