Category Archives: Cookies

Painted Brown Sugar Cookie Hearts

be mine 5I first learned about cookie painting when I saw the cover of the Bon Appetit December 2013 issue. When I looked inside and saw what was possible, my brain exploded with the possibilities. Who knew you could paint right onto the cookie, with an actual paintbrush? Kind of rocked my world.
BonAppetit_December2013_cover-530x398Bon Appetit Painted Cookies 3
I have never been exactly skilled with a paintbrush, but I figured even I could manage stripes. I began with the most delicious sugar cookie recipe I know, which uses brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. Bake cookies and let cool completely.cutting heartsMix up a bach of royal icing. Pipe an outline onto the baked hearts. Mine was a bit too thick. I’m sure you can do better than me.piping outlineThin some of the royal icing with a few drops of water to make a thinner consistency and fill in the hearts. Let them dry completely, preferably overnight. Consider this your blank canvas.Hearts filled inTo paint the cookies, you will need some clean paintbrushes in assorted sizes, gel food colouring (I like the Americolour brand) and some vodka. (Not for drinking, just to wet your brush with and mix with the gel food colouring to thin it out). Any clear extract (lemon or a clear vanilla) would also work. The reason for using alcohol is that it evaporates very quickly, meaning that the paint will dry quicker.

The Bon Appetit cookies were painted with luster dust, mixed with a bit of alcohol or extract. It comes in tons of colours. If you want to use luster dust to achieve that shimmery effect, here is a great tutorial on how to do it. I decided to do mine with just regular gel food colouring instead of the luster dust.  ready to paintSqueeze a blob of each colour you want to use onto an artist’s paint palette or a dinner plate. (I used a ceramic egg holder) Have a small glass of vodka ready for dipping your brush into. Dip the brush into the vodka or extract and then into the food colour gel. Have some paper towels ready to test the colour and adjust the amount of paint you have on your brush. Make sure you wash and dry the brush really well, before you change colours.painted stripes1I decided to up the adorable factor and write a message on my cookies. I used a thin tip paintbrush. Be Mine CircleSuch a sweet way to declare your love this year. be mine 2

Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar

Click here to print recipe for Royal Icing Recipe.

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Sweet Talk Shortbread Hearts

assorted hearts 1I have been wanting to make the cookie equivalent of those candy conversation heats for some time now. You know the ones I mean, they have the taste and texture of chalk, but are kind of cute.necco conversation heartsWhen I went to buy some for the photo shoot, I discovered that SweeTarts also make a version of conversation hearts, and if you’re a fan of that mouthwatering fusion of sweet and tart, you’ll love them. SweeTart HeartsI was thinking of doing an iced cookie, and piping the messages on them, but my fine motor skills aren’t precise enough for detailed piping and besides, my #1 valentine doesn’t like iced cookies. So, onto plan B. I remembered seeing these cookie letter stamps online.

Even though these are a novelty cookie, I still wanted them to be as delicious as possible. I thought I would try making them with a shortbread cookie dough. I used Mindy Segal’s recipe from her exciting and edgy new book, Cookie Love. After making the dough, I rolled it out using my new precision sticks. These have changed my life. I have always had difficulty rolling dough evenly, and then I was reading an article by cookie maven Dorris Greenspan. She was talking about these dough rolling sticks. They come in 1/4 inch, 1/8 inch and 1/16 inch thicknesses. They are genius in their simplicity.Measuring dough strips rolling pin guidesAfter rolling out dough between 2 sheets of parchment, I froze the sheet of dough before cutting out the hearts. cutting out heartsI stamped the cookies with their messages before baking, but as soon as they were done I realized that would not work. The cookies puffed up a bit during baking and the letters were not crisp and clear anymore. I decided to try stamping the cookies immediately after baking, before cooling, while they were still soft. To make it manageable, from a timing perspective, I only baked 6 cookies at a time, so that the cookies would not harden before stamping. cookie stampsThese cookies are both adorable and delicious. I was thrilled with the results.hugs xoxo

Click here to print recipe for Sweet Talk Shortbread Hearts.

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Salty and Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies

milk-and-cookiesI suppose the last thing anyone needs 3 days before Christmas is another holiday cookie blog post or cookie recipe. I am sure that by now you have all put up and decorated your tree, bought and wrapped your gifts and mailed your holiday cards. All your desserts are baked and wrapped well, tucked away in the freezer for the weekend. I know that some of you keeners have even set the table for the big feast on the 25th!

If you’re all set for the holidays, then just put your feet up, enjoy the photos and file this recipe away for mid-January, when your resolve to stay away from butter and sugar crumbles like a… well, like a peanut butter cookie! what-youll-needIf you are scrambling for some last minute cookies to share, this one is perfect. The dough comes together very quickly. Julia Moskin over at New York Times Cooking created these cookies. She was trying to recreate the beloved peanut butter cookie from City Bakery in Manhattan. These cookies are far from the typical peanut butter cookie you may be familiar with.

Made with unsalted peanut butter, cultured butter and brown sugar, they amp up the traditional peanut butter cookie. The texture is crunchy on the outside and sandy and crumbly in the middle. They just melt in your mouth. They are topped with a combo of coarse sea salt and coarse sanding sugar for that perfect sweet-salt balance. scooping-cookiesLeave these cookies nice and round. No need to  flatten and cross hatch with a fork. salt-crystals-on-cookies-1

Click here to print recipe for Salty-and-Sweet-Peanut-Butter-Cookies.

I’m thinking Santa would love these with a cold bottle of milk!cookies-tied-to-milk-bottles

Ginger Crinkle Cookies

cookies-and-milkI was introduced to these cookies last summer by my friend Lanie. At first I thought it was kind of strange that she made ginger cookies in August. I have always associated cinnamon and ginger with winter. But that was before I sandwiched two cookies around a scoop of salted caramel ice-cream. Home run!!ready-to-bakeThese ginger crinkle cookies are rolled in coarse sanding sugar before baking to give them a crunch. The crispy exterior yields to a chewy center thanks to a judicious amount of molasses. This recipe comes from The Kosher Palette Cookbook. The original recipe calls for rolling the balls of dough in granulated sugar. I wondered if coarse sanding sugar would be better so I tested both. I really preferred the look and more pronounced crunch of the coarse sugar.testing-2-kinds-of-sugartesting-2-kinds-of-sugar-all-bakedI have made these cookies several times since this summer. The last time I made them I used chilled coconut oil in place of the butter, for a dairy-free cookie. I used a refined coconut oil (also called expeller pressed) which is almost flavourless. This is what you want for such a highly spiced cookie. You would not want the flavour of coconut to compete. ready-for-the-ovenrolling-in-sugarcookies-on-woven-cloth

Click here to print recipe for Ginger-Crinkle-Cookies.

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Cultured Butter Cookies

with-latte-and-sugar-cubesIf there were a “little black dress” of the cookie world, this cookie would be it. Simple and elegant, much like I imagine Melissa Clark, creator of this cookie, to be. Cultured Butter Cookies, perfect for any occasion, need to become a staple in your cookie wardrobe.

A rather unassuming little cookie, but appearances can be deceiving. When a cookie lists flour, butter and sugar (along with a little salt, baking powder and an egg yolk), as the only ingredients, then quality matters. That’s where the cultured butter comes in.

For the uninitiated, here’s a little butter making history. (I always consider it a great day when I learn something new!) Many years ago all butter was made with “cultured” cream. After the evening milking the farmers left the cream to sit out overnight so that the milk would settle and the cream would rise to the top of the bucket. Without refrigeration, the naturally occuring bacteria in the milk caused it to sour slightly, giving it a tangy nuttiness. This cultured cream, once churned into butter, retained that delicious flavour.

Once dairy farmers began pasteurizing their milk, all the active cultures were killed and the cream no longer soured on its own. If they wanted cultured cream they would have to add an additional step in the butter making process and add live cultures back into the pasteurized milk. In an effort to save time and money, North American farmers skipped this step and made butter from sweet cream.

We grew accustomed to the mellow flavour of butter churned from sweet cream. But over in Europe, they never stopped adding live cultures back into the pasteurized cream. When we began importing these European cultured butters into North America people were surprised at how different this butter tasted. Cultured butter is a higher-fat product (86% butterfat vs 80% for regular butter), which in turns makes the butter more silky and gives it a richer taste. The complex tanginess is very pronounced.

When the flavour of butter is front and center, it’s worth the extra money to buy cultured  butter. simple-ingredientsThe dough comes together quickly and then it’s essentially a slice and bake cookie. The dough gets rolled in coarse sanding sugar for a little glitter, because even cookies need a bit of bling!rolling-log-in-sanding-sugarslicingcooling-on-rackThese cookies are crumblier, crisper and more buttery in flavour than a traditional butter cookie. Sometimes simple is best.tied-up

Click here to print recipe for Cultured-Butter-Cookies.

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