Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Hermit Bars

These treats are named Hermit Bars because they can be "hermited" away and taste better when they are a few days old.  They have a chewy but firm texture and would be great to mail to loved ones far away this holiday season.  Mr. Sprinkles is not a big raisin fan so I substituted the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Hermit Bars
Makes 24 1" bars

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup loosely packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 3/4 cup raisins or chocolate chips
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg; beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once.
  3. Add molasses; beat until combined, and scrape down sides of the bowl.  Add the flour mixutre and raisins/chocolate chips; beat on low until dough just comes together, about 2 minute.  Cover with plastic wrap; place in refrigerator to chill 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator, and turn out onto a clean work surface.  Divide into 2 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a 12 inch log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on prepared baking sheet, at least 3 inches apart.
  6. Place in oven, and bake until logs are golden but still very soft to the touch, 20 to 22 minutes.  The logs will flatten out and lengthen and get slightly puffy in the center. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Slice logs into 1-inch-wide bars.  Hermit bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

While making a Whole Foods run, I came across this magazine.  While I'm not typically a huge fan of the author, you can see why I obviously had to buy this magazine. This link is to a site for a $1 off coupon for any of you interested in picking up the same magazine or stay tuned to this blog because I earmarked a zillion of these recipes to try. :)

I love to try the new and unexpected and this magazine definitely delivered on both accounts.  I was drooling over the yummy looking chocolate cookies on the cover and was excited to learn they involved chocolate and cayenne pepper.  I was nervous they'd be super spicy which thanks to my Austrian heritage, I'm so not used to, but the pepper and cinnamon they are rolled in gives them more of a spicy warmth that makes them taste like a cookie version of a cup of hot chocolate.  They were a huge hit at my school, at Mr. Sprinkle's workplace, and got a thumbs up from Sister Sprinkle who is a huge foodie.  Disfrutar!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper OR ground chile such as chipotle/ancho/arbol

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. 
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar (the other 1/4 is used for rolling) on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. 
  5. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper or chile powder. Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-pepper/chile-sugar mixture. 
  6. Place, about 3 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. (Mr. Sprinkles hates crunchy cookies so I shorten the time to 9 minutes.)
  7. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Lemon Snickerdoodles

Mr. Sprinkles is a HUGE fan of the snickerdoodle, so when I saw a lemon version I just knew I had to give it a try.  The end result is fresh, clean, chewy, lemony goodness and a new Mr. Sprinkles favorite.  You can roll them in traditional sanding sugar but I had some left over white/clear sanding sugar from the engagement ring cookies that I thought would add a nice crunch.  You could also substitute turbinado sugar (raw sugar) if you don't mind it's brown hue.  I'm going to try making these with Meyer lemons sometime.  If you try that before I do, be sure to let me know how they turn out.  I hope you enjoy them as much as he does!

Lemon Snickerdoodles
Makes 3 dozen
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of two large lemons
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse/turbinado/sanding/granulated sugar for rolling
  1. Zest your lemons over your mixing bowl to capture any of the oils released. (Be careful to remove only the lemon's zest and not the bitter white pith. Blech!)
  2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or hand beaters), cream together the butter, lemon zest and sugar on medium-high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the cream of tartar and baking soda then the flour, mixing until it forms a uniform dough.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a rectangle and wrap in plastic. Place the dough into the refrigerator and allow to chill for several hours or over night.
  4. When you're ready to roll and bake, pre-heat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  5. Roll your dough into walnut sized balls (1 inch) and then roll each in a bowl of sugar.
  6. Arrange the balls on your pan, giving them plenty of room to spread. Pat them down slightly.
  7. Bake the cookies for 9 minutes (chewy) or 10 minutes (crunchy).  
  8. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Hey readers!  My goal for this month is to share with you 12 different cookie recipes for the holiday season.  Some will be new recipes and others are Sprinkle family tried and true favorites.  Wish me luck! :)