Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ginger Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Bars, and Chewy, Chunky Blondies w/ holiday add-ins

These are the cookies that I made and sent in the mail to some family members. When I am making a bunch of treats at the same time, I always try to choose a variety of flavors and textures. Since it is Christmas time, I made sure to choose some cookies that had appropriate flavors for this time of year. Ginger, pumpkin, peppermint, cranberries, etc.

I recently received a copy of The Gourmet Cookie Book, a cookbook in which the best cookie from the pages of Gourmet magazine was chosen for each year, from 1941-2009.
I thumbed through this book and chose a couple of recipes to try. The ginger sugar cookies stuck out to me because my family loves ginger and they looked like a chewy, delicious cookie.
They smelled yummy and my kids each sampled one. My 4 year old thought they were too spicy, but my other kids loved them.
These pumpkin oatmeal cookies look ordinary enough, but boy are they tasty. I was curious about their flavor, so I ate one. These were sooo good. Usually it seems like oatmeal cookies have all sorts of add-ins, like raisins, or nuts or chocolate chips, but these were so yummy because the stars of the show were just the pumpkin/spices and oatmeal. I will definitely make these again and again.
These chocolate peppermint bars were described by my son as "brownies with candy cane flavor". I didn't try one, but my son really didn't want me to send these in the mail. The batter was hard to spread, but it evened out in the oven. Not very pretty, but good to eat.

The last cookie I made is a classic bar cookie that always gets great reviews- Dorie's Chewy, Chunky Blondies. I have made these multiple times before and they are always a crowd pleaser. Usually they are chock full of nuts, chocolate, toffee bits, coconut-basically whatever you want to add.
This time I decided to add in some holiday flavors, so I went with dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, chopped macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.
These bars are perfect for sharing.

Ginger Sugar Cookies from The Gourmet Cookie Book
March 1965
Cream 3/4 cup softened butter and gradually beat in 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed.
Stir in 1 egg and 1/4 cup molasses and blend thoroughly.
Sift 2 1/4 cups flour with 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp each of cinnamon and ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Gradually blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and chill the dough for 1 hour.
Drop by heaping teaspoons into 1-inch balls and dip the tops in sugar.
Arrange the balls at least 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle each cookie with 2 or 3 drops or water.
Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until they are firm.

Chewy, Chunky Blondies
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p.109

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup toasted coconut

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and put it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, cranberries, nuts, and coconut. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the top as best you can.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean.(I usually have to keep adding 5 minutes at a time, until they are done- don't be afraid to let them cook a little longer). The blondies should pull away from the sides of the pan a little and the top should be a nice honey brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for about 15 minutes before turning the blondies out onto another rack. Invert onto a rack and cool the blondies to room temperature right side up.

Cut into 32 bars, each roughly 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies as seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) white sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking pans with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and both sugars until fluffy, about one minute. Add the egg, beating until incorporated, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

3. Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the prepared baking pans. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Let the cookies cool slightly on the pans before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies from The Gourmet Cookie Book-
December 2006


Dinetonite said...

I've been searching for the perfect satay recipe for a while now... shall have to give yours a try!

Gabrielle said...

mmmmmmmmmm chocolate peppermint bars. I am on my way! (if only.)

Andrew Beckstrand said...

This ARE SO GOOD! Thanks mare! :) they are all very tasty!

Audrey said...

Mare- I confess...I ate all of the pumpkin cookies myself. I promise next year I'll share:) They were all delicious! Thanks so much!