I have never been to a cookie exchange. I have never been invited or had one myself–sad, I know. I have always wanted to have one. Christmas seems to be the optimum time for such an event. Fitting one more thing into our hectic schedule seems a bit insane, however! To tell you the truth, I have not even done much baking this season. The kids have done more baking than I have. They have made  Oreo Balls, Rolo Turtles, and Gingerbread cookies.

I thought I would share some cookies that I have made in the past. You might get to go to one of those fancy cookie parties!

Just click the photo to get to the link.

Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

These Chocolate Pistachio Cookies are so yummy! They would be super fancy to take to a cookie exchange!

Chocolate Mocha Chewies

Chocolate Mocha Chewies

Not the fanciest but delish!

Pink Lemonade Cookies

Pink Lemonade Cookies

Pink Lemonade Cookies would be a hit as a non-chocolate selection.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Garbanzo Beans

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Garbanzo Beans

In the category of “different”, cookies with beans would definitely win, hands down!

Cake Mix Cookies

Cake Mix Cookies

You might not want to use red, white and blue sprinkles if you are going to a cookie exchange at Christmas time. I bet you can come up with some different colors though.

Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting

Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting

The frosting on these cookies is AMAZING! Just take the frosting and a spoon!

Coconut Lime Cookies

Coconut Lime Cookies

I love citrus!

Oatmeal Scotchies

Oatmeal Scotchies

Oatmeal Scotchies-a classic!

Swirly Cookies

Swirly Cookies

Red, white and green or aqua would be a nice alternative for Christmas Swirly Cookies.

Big Cookie

Big Cookie

Make it easy on yourself. Make one giant cookie! It would make a nice hostess gift.

Stamped Cookies

Stamped Cookies

I’m sure you could find a Christmas stamp out there somewhere.

Chocolate-Dipped Tea Bag Cookies

Chocolate-Dipped Tea Bag Cookies

Tea Bag Cookies-perfect for the tea enthusiast!

Falling Leaves Cookies

Falling Leaves Cookies

These would be cute with the same tree on a blue background. Then use snowflakes rather than leaves! Or use green candy melts to pipe a Christmas tree. Little dot sprinkles would look like lights or ornaments.

Pumpkin Spiced Cookies

Pumpkin Spiced Cookies

Pumpkin Spice-hello? YUM!

Cornflake Christmas Trees

Cornflake Christmas Trees

Okay, I don’t know if these Cornflake goodies qualify as a “cookie” or not. I doubt anyone would turn them away at a cookie exchange!

Have you ever been to a Cookie Exchange? Was it fun? Tell me all about it!

What kind of cookies are you making this year?

Do you remember this picture from a couple of posts ago? Well, here is the recipe!

These Applesauce Cookies are out of this world! The recipe comes from the Chef in Training blog. She has some great looking recipes on her blog. I hope to explore more when I have time.

Applesauce Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups applesauce (I used unsweetened applesauce.)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves (I accidentally looked at the line for the cinnamon that said 1 tsp and added 1 tsp of cloves! At first I panicked and tried to scrape out some of the ground cloves. Seeing that it was an impossible task to complete, I decided to leave it. It made for a tasty cookie! I think I will always make it that way.)

•Preheat oven to 375˚
•In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves.  Set aside.
•Cream together sugar and shortening
•Add eggs and applesauce and mix well
•Add in dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated
•Drop small spoonfuls of batter on greased cookie sheet
•Bake at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes

While cookies are cooling, prepare frosting.

Can we talk about this frosting a minute? It is so yummy! I happen to love caramel and pralines and toffee, all that salty-buttery-sweet stuff. This is just heavenly! I had a little leftover after frosting the cookies. I could not stand to throw it away. It was just that good! I have tried it on animal crackers. Yummy!

Caramel Frosting

6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

•In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, heavy cream and brown sugar.
•Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture just begins to boil;  remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let cool, then stir in the powdered sugar.
•Spread frosting on cookies

When I made these cookies, it made 63 medium-sized cookies. I let the frosting set overnight before trying to store them. I stored the cookies in a couple of plastic storage boxes with parchment paper between the layers. The frosting did not get squished or smeared. The cookies kept their freshness well. They were best, however, while the frosting was still a little gooey and dripping down our arms!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Cookies like these could make apples obsolete.

Megan: These cookies are definitely up to par with the Cookie Jar. (from Joanne Fluke’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder)

Katie: These cookies are way awesome with a glass of milk. They’ve got to be one of my favorite types of cookies!

A couple of months ago, I was sorting through my Facebook news and came across something interesting.

One of my friends from Ouachita, Chuck Hargett, had started a cookie company!

Chuck is a super sweet guy, easy on the eyes, and the boy can really sing, but COOKIES?! This I had to try!

So, I headed over to his website. Click here for the link.

WOW! The website looked great. The cookies looked even better! How was I supposed to choose which one to order? I wanted to taste them all!

Smarty pants Chuck has a cure for that problem—The Twenty Sample Pack! Oh, yeah, I ordered it!

The packaging is simple and sophisticated. Love it!

But wait. Look inside! (Ok, don’t look too closely. I was apparently having photography issues that day. Sorry the pics are a bit fuzzy. I know you will zip over to the Chucklet and Honey website anyway and see the really good picutres!)

Are these not the cutest?! All the packages are different.

The fancy box of cookies came with a legend. Love that! What a cute idea.

At this point, the cookies could have been yucky and I wouldn’t have cared. My eyes had already tasted the sweetness!

They were NOT yucky, by any stretch of the imagination.

The Critics agreed. I had them rank the cookies with their favorite one first.

It was hard to decide, but this is how I ranked the cookies:

1. Maple Oatmeal Raisin

2. The Chucklet & Honey

3. Double Chucklet Hazelnut

4. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Fluffer-Nutter

Way to go Chuck! You made some YUMMY cookies!

I just saw on the Chucklet & Honey Facebook page that they are using red ribbons for Christmas. The packaging is beautiful! The Twenty Sample Pack would make a fabulous Christmas gift-especially if you need to send those nice corporate gifts! He also has a special discount code for the month of November on the home page.

Love ya, Chuck! I wish you the very best in your new business!

Critics’ Corner

Chip:

1. Maple Oatmeal Raisin
2. The Chucklet and Honey
3. Double Chucklet Hazelnut
4. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Fluffer-Nutter

Megan:

1. Original-never had a cookie quite like it.

2. Chocolate-can’t go wrong with chocolate

3. Oatmeal

4. Fluffer-Nutter-just too much cookie

Katie:

1. Cranberry Cookie-I loved the cranberries in it. It was one delicious and perfect cookie! (aka Maple Oatmeal Raisin)

2. Hazelnut Cookie

3. Signature Cookie

4. Fluffer-Nutter Cookie

Sorry, if you are a subscriber, you got a half-sentence post. Aaah, the benefits of membership.

I was trying to figure something out on the keyboard. Evidently, Control+P is PUBLISH! AAAAAAaaaakkkk! Good to know. Or was it Option +P? Rats! Now I don’t remember what I hit!

Whew! Glad that is over-I hope it is anyway.

On with the post…

With the temperature reaching 105˚ around here, what sounds better than a nice tall glass of lemonade? Why, lemonade cookies of course!

This recipe comes from the 1998 Christmas Cookies magazine. It was one of those special edition publications put out by Better Homes and Gardens. I love this issue. It is a “Special:50-State Salute”. There is a recipe that is supposed to represent each state. There are “Buckeyes” for Ohio, “Maple Leaves” for Vermont, “Bourbon Balls” for Kentucky, “Potato Chip Crispies” for Idaho, and “Pink Lemonade Cookies” for Arkansas. I’m not really sure why Arkansas got pink lemonade, but I’m glad. Being from Arkansas, I HAD to make them! (The girls actually made this batch!)

Pink Lemonade Cookies

1/2 cup softened butter (no substitutes)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

1/3 cup frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed (If you made my Lemonade Pie you will have enough concentrate left over for the cookies.)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

red food coloring (optional)

Pink Lemonade Frosting

•Beat butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.

•Add sugar, baking powder, and baking soda; beat till combined.

•Beat in egg and lemonade concentrate.

•Beat in as much of the flour as you c can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon.

•If desired, add red food coloring to tint dough pink.

•Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

•Bake in a 350˚ oven for 10-12 minutes or till edges are golden.

•While cookies bake, be sure to sample what is left in the mixing bowl!

•Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 1 minute; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

•Frost with Pink Lemonade Frosting.

Pink Lemonade Frosting

Beat together 2 tablespoons butter, softened; 2 cups sifted powdered sugar; 2 tablespoons* frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed; and enough water (3-4 teaspoons) to make a spreading consistency. If desired, add red food coloring to tint frosting pink.

* The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of lemonade concentrate. I have found that I like it to have a little more zing than that. I add 2 tablespoons. Play with it and see what you like.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Dandy! Just dandy!

Megan:  The fruits of our labor are delicious, as for the labor itself, very messy.

Katie:  The cookies were really tangy and sweet at the same time.  I loved to make them with Megan! (At some parts, Mom had to help us with some stuff, but that’s beside the point!) Megan made a tiny one just for me, and when it cam out of the oven, it was soooo cute! I have named it Teeny Weeny, because it can fit in the palm of your hand! I loved it!

I’m really not one of those people. You know, those ladies who make the best meatloaf, blueberry pie, homemade bread, whatever, but refuse to share their recipes. I can understand. They want to be known for their fabulous dishes. If they share, it is no longer their dish. I, however, am not that lady. Look at me! I’m blogging about recipes for Pete’s sake.

Last night I was sharing a recipe some friends. It wasn’t until this morning, when I saw the leftover coffee in the pot, that I realized I had inadvertently forgotten to mention an ingredient. So, this is for Regina and Paula, and anyone else who want to try this recipe.

One of my “go-to” cookbooks…

Chocolate Mocha Chewies

1 package plain devil’s food cake mix

1/3 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature That is the part I forgot to tell you about! It was there, I just didn’t mention it.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 large egg

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets with solid vegetable shortening. Set the pans aside. I didn’t grease my pans. I used my baking stones and they did great.

2. Place the cake mix, coffee, melted butter , and egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with and electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more.

The dough will be thick. Fold in the chips until well distributed.

I used these chips…


One, it was what I had.

Two, they are just so stinkin’ cute!


3. Drop heaping teaspoons of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Place the pans in the oven. (If your oven cannot accommodate both pans on the center rack, place one pan on the top rack and one on the center rack and rotate them halfway through the baking time.)

4. Bake the cookies until they have set but are still a little soft in the center, 10-12 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Let the cookies rest on the sheets for 1 minute. Remove the cookies with a metal spatula to wire tacks to cool completely, 20 minutes. Repeat the baking process with remaining cookie dough.

Here they are! All ready for potluck. It never fails. When I take a dessert, there are 1,000 desserts. No one seems to mind that there are lots of desserts, however.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Coffee + chocolate… you do the math!

Megan: I loved them! I mean it was chocolate with chocolate chips! How do you go wrong with that?!

Katie: It was awesome! This is really saying something…It’s even better than chocolate chip, and that is my favorite cookie of all time!

I saw these cookies while I was at Big Lots yesterday. I had to try them.

They are very yummy! I have had the Ginger Thins before-ooo lala! Big Lots also has the mint flavored.

You can check out the Anna’s website here. Beware, some of the links from the website are  Swedish!

After more than eighteen years of marriage, I am still learning about my husband. I recently learned that he loves pistachios. I only found this out because he saw that I had a bag of pistachios. Why did I have a bag of pistachios? So glad you asked.

I was going to make some Christmas fudge.  Mom made some white fudge with pistachios and cranberries a couple of Christmases ago. It was so pretty. It looked just like the magazine. Yes, I had ripped out the same recipe at some point in time. It was nowhere to be found, naturally. I figured I could wing it, call Mom, or do a search. So, I bought my pricey pistachios. Christmas came and went, and the fudge never got made. While packing away Christmas decorations I came across my lonely bag of pistachios. What the heck am I going to do with them now?! I’ve never even eaten a pistachio! Well, that little project got forgotten for a while.

I got to thinking again about actually starting this blog. As I perused my collection of cookbooks I naturally went to the sweets department. I am addicted to sweets. I know, I know, diabetes, heart disease, I’m trying ok?! Anyway…I came across Martha’s cookie cookbook. I’ve made a couple of things out of this one, and they were great. I really like this book because there is a picture for just about every recipe. (I am a very visual person.) Lo and behold, a recipe that includes pistachios!

Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

for the filling:

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 large egg yolks. lightly beaten

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

for the cookies:

4 ounces salted shelled pistachios (about 1 cup), ground to a past in a food processor

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg white

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of coarse salt

for the glaze:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

for the garnish:

Slivered unsalted shelled pistachios (optional)

1. Make filling: Bring sugar and the water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. This part was pretty easy.

2. Put egg yolks in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk by hand until yolks are warm to the touch, about 2 minutes. How do you like my handy dandy egg separator? I used to be a Pampered Chef lady. Love me some gadgets!

Fit mixer with the whisk attachment. Love my stand mixer. My sweet hubby got it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago.Mix yolks on medium speed; pour in sugar syrup. Raise speed to high; mix until mixture is cool and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; drizzle in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Can you believe I actually found somewhere in my refrigerator to put the stuff?

3. Make cookies: Put pistachio paste and sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Mix in the egg white, vanilla, and salt. The pistachios came unshelled, ugh. Had to do some recruiting. A 10 ounce bag gave us about 4 ounces of shelled pistachios.

Seems like it took forever to get to a pasty consistency.

4. Preheat oven to 350º F. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a small (about 1/4 Inch) plain round tip (such as Ateco #10). Pipe 1-inch rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake cookies until firm and golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer on parchment to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Pretty neat Martha-like tip for filling a pastry bag. Stuff it in a glass. Ok, Martha wouldn’t say it like that, but you have a picture to help you. What you don’t see in the piping picture is my face. That cookie dough did not want to come out of the little tip. I was really gritting my teeth. Finally, after 5 minutes of squeezing and only having two circles, I raised up, hit my head on the range hood, ouch, and declared I was not doing it Martha’s way. So, I cheated and used a cookie scoop. The recipe says it makes 15 cookies, so you will need to scoop, or pipe if you dare, 30 cookies.

5. Place cookies, bottom sides up, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This was easy. However, the cookies do want to stick to the parchment paper, so lift carefully. Aren’t they cute? They look like little turtles on their backs.

Spread 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chocolate filling on bottom half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Freeze 1 hour. I don’t know if I didn’t leave the filling in the fridge long enough or what! This step was a mess! As you can see I had it all over myself.

6. Make glaze: Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add shortening; stir until combined. Let cool, stirring, until mixture is lukewarm. Martha would say to use a good quality chocolate. Well, Martha, this was the only bittersweet chocolate they had at the store. Ghirardelli is good quality though.

7. Using a chocolate fork or regular fork, hold one cookie at a time above bowl of chocolate glaze. Spoon glaze over cookie, letting excess drip back into bowl. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Garnish with slivered pistachios. Refrigerate until set, 5 minutes. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Aaaah, cascading chocolate!

All done! They may not look just like Martha’s, but they were good.

NOTE: The yolks in the filling are not fully cooked; it should not be prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised. This note was in the cookbook. I figured I ought to include it.

Now I know you are wondering why today’s post is entitled “Never Again Cookies”. They were really tasty. The cookie part is very dense and sticky to work with. It took the whole day to make 15 cookies! I will admit it probably took a little longer than it might have otherwise because I was trying to photograph everything. Fortunately I had a photographer on hand. If you like the pictures, you are probably looking at the ones he took. I do ok. It is hard to take pictures of what you are doing while you are doing it. This is just my first attempt. Maybe I’ll grow a third arm before I try my next recipe. Boy that would be something to post about! Squirrel!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: I’m a firm believer that nuts belong in cookies. Pecans belong in chocolate chip cookies, period. In fact, I’ve yet to meet the cookie that would not be made better by pecans (but I digress). In any event, I had pretty high hopes for a cookie that features a nut as it’s primary ingredient. These pistachio cookies did not disappoint. The flavor of a pistachio is enough to carry any cookie to greatness, but when it’s covered in chocolate… well… then the term “greatness” doesn’t begin to cover it. These cookies were exceptional. After each person in the family had an opportunity to try them I claimed the remainder for myself. If they do, in fact, end up being “never again” cookies, I don’t want to miss a single bite of these.

Two thumbs up.

Megan: The pistachio cookies are definitely different, but I love them.

Katie: The cookies are good, however, they could go without the pistachios. You see, now that I have tried them, I’m not a big fan of them. That’s all I have to say.