Cookies & Bars

Hamentashen

Hamentashen

Happy Purim!

If you have never heard of, or seen a hamentashen cookie, it’s because it’s a cookie that is eaten and made to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim.  I’m not going to get into the details of the origin of Purim or the origin of why the cookie is shaped like a triangle, so if your curious, then google it.

Hamentashen are ethier really good or really really bad.  I’ve had the miss fortune of eating many TERRIBLE hamentashen. I’ve spit out plenty of hamentashen over the years.  With that said, I guarantee this hamentashen recipe isn’t garbage.

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If you take on this cookie recipe, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND baking these with a friend or family member.  These cookies are more labor intensive and time intensive than the average cookie.  Not to scare you, but making these cookies with a friend will cut your time in half.

These cookies let you be creative, you can use any flavor jam or pie filling that you like, nutella, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc.  If you have little ones at home, it’s a great activity to get them involved in.
Hamentashen Something Sweet

Hamentashen Recipe:
1 (8oz) pkg. Softened Cream Cheese
3/4 C. Softened Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 C. Powdered Sugar
2 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
Fillings – Pie Fillings/Jams, Chocolate Chips, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Instructions: 
1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue to mix until incorporated.

2. Add the flour and baking soda and mix well until combined.

3. Let dough chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once chilled, roll out your dough on a floured surface to a 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter. Place a glob of pie filling in the center (I like Solo Raspberry and Apricot Pie Filling).  Fold your dough into a triangle, making sure the corners are pinched well.

4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden brown.

I hope you enjoy this delicious holiday cookie and Happy Purim!

xo,
Marlee

Spiced Dried Fruit Tea Cookies

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When you curl up on the couch with a warm cup of tea, you need something slightly sweet and warm with spices to counter the bitter and floral notes of the tea.  These chewy and mildly sweet cookies are the perfect match to your cup of tea.

These cookies were inspired by my love of spices, dried fruits and nuts.  I’m not a fan of chocolate sweets with a cup of tea, so I needed to create something to nibble on.  I was inspired by Ina Garten’s Fruit Cake Cookies and a certain cookie dough from the bakery I work at.  Sometimes taking two really good recipes and mashing them up can create a really good cookie!

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Fruit Cake Tea Cookies

I think I would make the British proud with this cookie or “biscuit.” If you’re having a tea party, I guarantee your guests will be grabbing more than one! These are a great gift to give to your tea obsessed friends as well!

You can make these cookies all your own by adding what ever dried fruits and nuts you want.  I chose dried dates, cherries, apricots and walnuts, but you could use raisins, pecans, pineapple, etc.

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Spiced Dried Fruit Tea Cookie Recipe:
1/2 C. Softened Butter
1/4 C. Light Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Honey
1/2 tsp. Orange Zest
1/2 C. Chopped Dried Dates
1/4 C. Chopped Dried Cherries
1/4 C. Chopped Dried Apricots
1/4 C. Chopped Walnuts
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 1/2 C. Bread Flour
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
Pinch of Salt

Preheat the oven to 350.

Instructions:

1. In a stand mixer, cream your butter. Once light and fluffy, add your brown sugar and mix until fluffy.

2. To your butter and sugar mixture, add your honey, dried fruits, nuts and orange zest. Mix together.

3. Add your egg and vanilla extract.

4. To your wet ingredients in the stand mixer, add the bread flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Mix only until combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.  

**If you over mix your cookie dough, it will not keep its form while baking.

5. On a sheet of plastic wrap, form your dough into a 1 1/2 – 2 inch width log.  Let the dough sit in your freezer or refrigerator until firm.  Cut dough into 1/4.” Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies just start to show color.

Your cookie should be light, firm and chewy.

I hope you enjoy this cookie with your next cup of tea! I promise you won’t be disappointed!

xo,
Marlee

P.S.
My go to and favorite teas are Tazo’s Organic Peachy Green and Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile with Lavender.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookies

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My sister Rachel has started to become a little baker herself.  Unfortunately, I can’t take any credit for this recipe, only the pictures.  My sister had found this recipe online a long time ago.  The original recipe wasn’t very good, but she had the knack to tweak it into a delicious and highly addictive cookie, that tastes and has the texture of a banana muffin.

I’m not a huge cookie person, but I could easily eat three of these at a time.  If this cookie wasn’t good enough already, she sprinkles cinnamon sugar on top right when they come out of the oven, yummmmmm…

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These cookies are easy to make and you probably have the ingredients already in your pantry.  If you’re a mom and have little ones in school, I swear their friends will be jealous.  If I was in 3rd grade again, I would try and barter my fruit snacks for these cookies!

You will be the hero of your family for at least as long as these cookies last, I promise! Banana fans rejoice, because these cookies are delicious! I think that’s the second time I’ve said they’re delicious, but hey, they REALLY ARE D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.

Thank goodness Rachel started baking, because I would be lost without these cookies in my life.  Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic.  How about you make these and see for yourself! Thanks for the recipe Rachel!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Top Cookie Recipe:
2 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Softened Buter (1 Stick)
1 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Very Ripe Bananas (Mashed)
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Bag of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (Rachel likes to use regular size chips, I prefer the mini chips)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Instructions:
1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter until fluffy, add sugar and continue to mix until fluffy and pale yellow in color.

2. Add one egg at a time, vanilla and mashed bananas.

3. Once incorporated, add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder). After the dry ingredients are incorporated, add your chocolate chips.  (Note: Your batter will be runner than normal cookie dough).

4. With a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop spoonfuls of batter.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes or until the cookies edges are just starting to turn golden brown.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar after cookies are taken out of the oven.

Thanks for reading!

xo,
Marlee & Rachel

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Bars

 

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So it has come to my attention that there aren’t any recipes thus far with even an ounce of chocolate! Shame on me! All though these SUPER ADDICTIVE bars have two sources of chocolate, I can’t take any credit for them! This is an adapted recipe created by my sister, Rachel! She has been allergic to peanut butter her whole life.  It wasn’t until recently that we were able to find an almond butter that wasn’t processed and manufactured on the same equipment as peanuts.  Of course it’s even more expensive than regular almond butter, but hey, at least she finally get’s to eat a nut spread!

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In case you’re curious as to which completely peanut-free almond butter my sister uses, the brand is called Barney Butter and it costs about $14 for a 16 oz jar at Whole Foods.

These bars are fudgy and satisfy that sweet and salty craving! Despite the sugar, which I eat way to much of, they are a great protein bar.  The almond butter, almond milk and oatmeal provide great protein and fiber.  Slightly better for you than a Snickers bar.

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These bars can be anything you want – add different chocolate, nuts, candies, whatever floats your boat! Personally I wouldn’t change them, they were that good!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Bars Recipe:
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Creamy Almond Butter
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 C. All Purpose Flour
1 C. Old Fashioned Oats
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Almond Milk or Regular Milk
1/3 C. Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2/3 C. Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins

Preheat oven to 350.

Instructions:
1. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and lay parchment paper on top to insure the bars come out. Set aside.

2. In a stand/hand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the brown sugar and almond butter. If your almond butter is super thick, zap it in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. On medium speed, add the flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Don’t worry, it will come together! Slowly add the almond milk, mixing until the dough comes together. Mix in the chocolate chips and chocolate covered raisins. Use your hands if needed.

4. Press the finished dough evenly throughout the baking dish. Bake for 17-20 minutes. The bars will look slightly golden brown. Cut into squares, when completely cooled and enjoy!

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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We hope you love these! They are AWESOME!

xo,
Marlee & Rachel

Rugelach (Shhh… It’s Better Than Grandma’s)

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I’ve grown up around rugelach cookies, but they weren’t something I went straight for at the dessert table.  Half the time I wouldn’t even bother trying them, because they didn’t look like anything special or didn’t have enough fruity filling.

It wasn’t until I started working at the bakery that rugelach found a special place in my sweet tooth. These spiraled cookies with fruit fillings throughout and the sugary crunchy exterior crust with a soft inside…yummmmmm.

 

These cookies are my copycat version and I think I’m pretty close! The bakery uses ingredients that the average home baker doesn’t have on hand, so these are my simpler and similar version.

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It took me a few tries, but persistence pay’s off! I think I went through four small batches of rugelach dough, before I figured it out!  I guess wasting ingredients isn’t a terrible thing, if it means you have a recipe that could last generations.

Like every sweet treat that I make, these go well with your morning or afternoon cup o’ joe.  I almost don’t enjoy coffee as much if I don’t have something sweet to nibble on!   It’s becoming somewhat of a problem…  Why can’t sugar be a super food!?!?!?

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Rugelach Recipe:  Approx. 24 – 32 cookies
Dough:
8 oz. Cold Cream Cheese
1/2 C. Butter (Firm, but not cold)
2 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
3/4 C. Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/3 C. Cold Water

Fillings & Finishings:
Cinnamon Sugar/Jam/Marmalade/Pie Filling of Choice
1 Egg (For egg wash)
Turbinado Sugar

Before preheating oven look at step 4. Otherwise…
Preheat oven to 350.

Instructions:
1. In a stand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese on med-high for 2-3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and add to the creamed butter and cream cheese. Add the cold water and let the mixer run on medium-high for about 2-3 minutes. (You want to over mix the dough to activate the glutens). You know if you over mixed right, if the dough is glossy and slightly springs back like bread or pizza dough.

2. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. On a floured surface, try to roll your dough out in a thin rectangle shape. Take a knife and cut excess and oddly shaped dough. You will want a rectangle shape before rolling the dough into a spiral.

3. With an off set spatula, spread a thin layer of fruit filling ( I used Solo Raspberry Cake and Pastry Filling).  Roll the dough into a tight spiral.  Cut in 1 inch pieces.

4. I highly recommend freezing the raw cookies and letting them thaw before baking – the dough should feel cold, but not frozen (about 30 min). This isn’t necessary, but the cookie keeps it’s form better. Lightly brush with an egg wash and generously top with turbinado (raw) sugar. It will give the cookie and extra special crunch!

5. On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, bake for 25-28 minutes at 350 degrees.
**The pictures above are slightly over baked, to enhance color, but it is best to follow the directions for best flavor and texture.

I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading!

xo,
Marlee

Mexican Wedding Cookies with Pecans

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I discovered Mexican wedding cookies in a Penzey’s Spices catalog when I was in high school.  I had never had this kind of cookie before.  The fact that it was covered in powdered sugar obviously intrigued me.  What doesn’t taste good all covered in sugar!? The original recipe doesn’t call for nuts, but many recipes use either pecans or walnuts, each equally good, so use what you have on hand!

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What I love about these cookies, is that they melt in your mouth.  Don’t ask me how they do, because I don’t know for sure, but trust me! I also don’t feel as guilty eating 2 or 3 or maybe 5, since they’re so small and one bite each. They are definitely one of my favorite cookies! They’re so easy to make and only 6 ingredients!

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Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe:
1 C. Butter (2 Sticks Softened)
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar (Plus extra for rolling)
2 C. Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 C. Finely Chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 400.

Instructions:
1. In a stand mixer, cream softened butter until fluffy. Add the 1/2 C. of powdered sugar and mix until fluffy about 5 minutes.

2. Add flour gradually, vanilla and salt. Once the flour is incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the finely chopped pecans and mix until just combined.

3. Let the dough sit in the refrigerator for about 30 mins to chill. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roll dough balls into 1 inch in diameter or any size you desire. Leave 1 inch in between each dough ball. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms/edges begin to brown.

4. Once cooled completely, roll the cookies in powdered sugar. Store these cookies in an open container for up to 3-4 days, it will keep their texture intact.

Note: For extra dough that you don’t want to bake right away – roll the dough balls as if you were about to bake them. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours or until they are completely frozen. Place the frozen dough balls into a ziploc bag and store in the freezer. When needed, place dough balls on your baking sheet and allow them to thaw. They should be slightly cooler than room temperature when placing them in the oven.

Recipe adapted from a Penzey’s Spices catalog.
Happy Baking!
xo,
Marlee

Citrus-Strawberry Thumbprint Butter Cookies

Citrus-Strawberry Thumbprint Butter Cookies

Citrus-strawberry thumbprint butter cookies! Now that is a mouth full! A delicious mouthful that is! During the winter (or should I say cookie season) when I was in high school, I was in the mood for a fruity cookie.  I wanted a cookie that had a flaky dough with a jam center, but the thumbprint cookie that I typically bake during the holidays has a dense dough, is rolled in chopped pecans and has a frosting center (d0n’t worry! I’ll post that recipe in December!).  Any ways… This flaky, fruity cookie is great for the spring or for the holidays – if tweaked.

When I originally made this recipe, I didn’t use any citrus zest.  But for the spring, it adds a nice bright floral citrus flavor.  I’m not a huge fan of adding citrus zests to baked goods, but the zest pairs nicely with the strawberry jam center.

Orange and Lemon Zest

My recommended tool for zesting is a microplane.  You know that long tool that looks sort of like a cheese grater with a rubber ended handle? A helpful hint: When zesting citrus fruits, don’t zest in the same spot.  Zest the entire surface of the fruit, unless you don’t need very much.  If you zest in the same spot, you will have bitter zest and you will lose all of those fragrant oils.

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Making the “thumbprints” in the partially cooked dough.

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These cookies look like tasty little gems! It’s a good thing that they don’t cost as much as precious gems! What’s fun about these cookies is that you can be creative and change them up! Use different types of jams, use lime zest instead of orange and lemon, or use a lemon curd instead of jam.

Citrus-Strawberry Thumbprint Butter Cookies Recipe: Makes 28 – 35 Cookies
1 C. Butter (2 Sticks Softened)
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Orange Zested (Divided) (Optional)
1/2 Lemon Zested (Divided) (Optional)
1 Jar Strawberry Jam

Preheat the oven to 400.

Instructions:
1. Cream the softened butter until fluffy. Add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and blend on medium-low speed for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add flour, salt and vanilla and combine. Add half the zest of one orange and half the zest of half of a lemon. Beat the dough on medium.  You will know it’s ready when it comes together and forms a smooth cookie dough. Let dough chill for 30 minutes.

3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop and roll dough into a 1/2 inch ball. (I use a mini ice cream scoop to measure each ball of dough). DO NOT flatten dough balls before placing in the oven!

5. Bake the dough balls for 5 minutes. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and make wells in each cookie and fill with jam. (Be sure to not over fill cookies, to avoid spill over). Place back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until bottom edges start to brown. 

6.  Let cool and garnish with the remaining orange and lemon zests.

I hope you enjoy! Let me know if you used other flavor combinations!!

xo,
Marlee