Categories
Cookies Dessert

Combo cookies will be your next crowning achievement

Crownie pinwheels combine store-bought cookie dough with a boxed brownie mix to create pretty, chocolatey cookies.

I have become completely susceptible to online cooking demos.

If I am scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook, I will inevitably find myself watching someone chopping up veggies or mixing up some kind of batter. Even if the recipe doesn’t particularly appeal to me, I find the process of watching someone cook completely fascinating.

It’s either that or videos of pets doing ridiculous things.

This past week, one of those recipe videos spoke to me, because it looked both delicious and easy, taking pre-made cookie dough and a box mix to create something new.

These “crownies”—half cookie, half brownie—were just as good as they looked, so I’m sharing the extremely simple recipe with you this week.

This comes from the website “So Yummy.” You can find the original post at https://soyummy.com/recipe/crownie-pinwheels/. I didn’t change any of the ingredients, but I did clarify some directions a bit.

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Crownie Pinwheels

Crownie pinwheels combine store-bought cookie dough with a boxed brownie mix to create pretty, chocolatey cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, chocolate, cookies, crownies, swirl

Ingredients

  • 16- ounce package chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 10- ounce package fudgey brownie mix prepared

Instructions

  • Place the cookie dough between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper and roll it out until it is the same thickness as the chocolate chips. Try to keep it in as much of a rectangle or square as you can.
  • Spread a thick layer of the brownie dough evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges except on the top one inch. You probably won’t use the entire batch of brownies for this step.
  • Carefully roll the dough, starting from the bottom. You’ll likely have some of the brownie batter squish out a little.
  • Once you complete the roll, gently press to seal the roll, wrap it in the waxed/parchment paper, and place it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes so it sets up.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Unwrap the roll and slice it into about 1/4-inch slices. Place them two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container.

I bought an 18-ounce brownie mix for my cookies, and I ended up having a ton of batter left over. I just sprayed a mini-cupcake tin with cooking spray and made mini brownie bites while my cookies were in the freezer. Win-win.

In hindsight, I wish I would have just bought a second package of cookie dough and made a second roll. I got about two dozen cookies out of the single package.

These were really good. They spread out into thin, pretty cookies that looked a lot more impressive than they should have, considering I really didn’t have to put in much effort to make them.

In the long run, my love of cooking videos is probably a good thing—it makes my suggested posts on social media a lot more positive, and every once in awhile, we end up with something delicious in the house.

This piece first appeared in print on May 20, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

‘Tassie’ together some mini pies this week

Pecan tassies are a bit quicker to accomplish than a full pecan pie, and they’re a great crowd pleaser for a dessert table.

I have said before that I actually really enjoy making pie.

I think now that I feel confident with pie crust, the idea of creating a shell and a filling that (at least in theory) comes out in whole, beautiful slices is one of my favorite things.

Joey has been a wonderful and willing participant in my pie experiments over the years, with pecan being his absolute favorite, so when I announced I was making pecan tassies, he was on board to be my taste tester.

If you’re not familiar, a “tassie” is a mini pie. An old article by Betty Rosbottom in the Los Angeles Times points out that the word really just means “cup,” but in the U.S., at least, we tend to use the term for the dessert.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “Baking a Moment.” You can find the original at https://bakingamoment.com/brown-sugar-pecan-tassies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version. Also, feel free to skip the whiskey in these. You can’t taste it in the final version outside of it amplifying other flavors, but if you’re not feeling it, it won’t hurt anything to leave it out.

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Brown Sugar Pecan Tassies

Pecan tassies are a bit quicker to accomplish than a full pecan pie, and they're a great crowd pleaser for a dessert table.
Course Dessert
Keyword brown sugar, cream cheese, mini pie, pecans, tassies, vanilla, whiskey

Ingredients

Pastry Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans plus more for tops

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • For the pastry, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, and then beat in the flour and salt. If you’re using a mini-cupcake pan, divide the pastry into 24 equal balls; if using a regular cupcake pan, divide it into 12.
  • Press the pastry into the bottoms and up the sides of each well.
  • For the filling, beat the egg, brown sugar, melted butter, whiskey, vanilla and salt until it’s smooth. Fold in the pecans and evenly distribute the filling into the prepared pan.
  • Top each well with some more pecans, and bake 25 minutes for the mini-cupcake pan or 30 minutes for the regular cupcake pan.
  • Let the tassies cool, and then remove them from the pan. Store them in an airtight container.

These were awesome. I opted for the mini-cupcake pan version, and it produced cute little pies that were easy to just pop into your mouth. Especially if you wanted to create a dessert buffet table or had a gathering where people will be snacking, this is the recipe for you.

If you’re not with me on enjoying pie baking, this is a good one to try in order to dip your toe in the pool or to just avoid trying to roll out pie dough altogether. Plus, if you need him, I know a guy who makes an excellent taste tester.

This piece first appeared in print on April 15, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

You’re fine ‘pudding’ whatever you want in these cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.

I am and always have been a rule follower.

I rarely if ever got in trouble in school, and I still read instructions before completing a form or assembling a piece of furniture.

For years, I was that way with recipes, too. I followed the directions to the letter. But I have had the good fortune to write this column every week for over eight years now, and one thing I’ve learned about recipes is that the rules are meant to be broken.

That was definitely the case for this week’s recipe. I didn’t sift the flour and baking soda before adding it to the batter. I didn’t use vanilla pudding. I added extra vanilla extract. I grabbed margarine instead of butter, since that was what I had on hand.

And you know what? My cookies still turned out great, so I’m sharing this recipe with you this week so you can be a rule breaker, too.

This comes from the blog “I am a Honey Bee.” You can find the original post at https://iamahoneybee.com/2014/01/09/chocolate-chip-pudding-cookies/. I changed this up by substituting in different flavors from the original and doubling the vanilla.

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Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cookies, instant pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3.4 ounces instant pudding I used chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 ounces chocolate chips I used semi-sweet

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until they’re light and fluffy—about two minutes. Beat in the pudding mixture. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add in the flour and baking soda and beat until everything is mixed well.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Roll the dough into one-inch balls or scoop it out with a one-inch baking scoop and place them about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until the cookies are set in the middle. Once the cookies have cooled for about five minutes, transfer them to an airtight container.

Despite using the chocolate pudding, these weren’t overly sweet or decadent. They were just really good, soft cookies. We shared some with some friends of ours, and they gave them two thumbs up, too.

And these are infinitely customizable. Go look at the instant pudding in your local grocery store and get creative with your flavor combos. Maybe lemon and white chocolate chips? Coconut with almonds? Butterscotch and dark chocolate?

There are many, many times that being a rule follower is a wonderful trait to have, and believe me, it keeps you out of trouble a lot in life. But in this case, I’d say go ahead and live on the wild side a little. I’m not quite ready to be a rebel without a cause, but cookies are a cause I can get behind.

This piece first appeared in print on March 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Fresh berry cookies are almost too good to be ‘blue’

Blueberry white chocolate cookies are big and soft with lots of blueberry flavor, a hint of lemon, and pops of white chocolate.

When I was a kid, our Sunday morning breakfast tradition was having some sort of pastry before church. 

Most often, it was some mini donuts, but every so often, my parents would pick up a variety pack of jumbo muffins. I loved all the flavors, but I often opted for a big, cake-y blueberry muffin as my first choice.

I recently picked up a big container of blueberries and decided to make some cookies I’d been eyeing for awhile. Let me tell you: these were so, so delicious, and while they weren’t quite the same fluffy cake texture of a muffin top, that’s definitely what they reminded me of.

This comes from the blog “In Fine Taste.” You can find the original post at https://infinetaste.com/blueberry-lemon-white-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I added extra vanilla in my version and removed some extra lemon flavors.

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Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blueberry white chocolate cookies are big and soft with lots of blueberry flavor, a hint of lemon, and pops of white chocolate.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, cookies, cream cheese, lemon, vanilla, white chocolate

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar plus more for rolling dough in
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
  • Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together. Beat for about two minutes until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon juice for another minute until the batter is smooth.
  • Beat in the salt, baking soda and flour. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and blueberries.
  • Add a few tablespoons of sugar to a small bowl. Scoop dough out in about 1/4-cup scoops, and roll the dough ball in the sugar. Place the cookies about two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets, and place the sheets in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 13 to 16 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just browned. Let the cookies rest for 10 minutes before enjoying or transferring to an airtight container.

You could probably get away with using frozen blueberries for this, too, if you thaw them and drain them very well first.

We shared these with some friends, and I almost immediately got a request for the recipe. This makes huge, soft cookies that were so, so good.

And while they aren’t actually muffin tops, I think you could get away with eating these for breakfast, too. If anyone judges you, just don’t share your cookies with them.

This piece first appeared in print on March 4, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Cookies are in the ‘pie’ of the beholder

Blueberry pie cookies are really just mini hand pies, but they are a delicious dessert, regardless.

I remember once reading the story of one fast food worker’s infuriating interaction with a customer.

The customer ordered “a cheeseburger, but hold the cheese.”

The worker paused and asked, “So, a hamburger?”

Instead of sheepishly admitting her mistake, the customer was incredulous.

“No. I said I want a cheeseburger with no cheese. If I wanted a hamburger, I would have asked for a hamburger.”

Despite some back and forth, the worker begrudgingly took the “customer is always right” mantra to heart and charged her for the higher-priced cheeseburger—minus the cheese.

I had a similar moment with Joey recently when I made blueberry pie cookies.

“What makes them cookies and not pie,” he asked after taking the first bite.

I was dumbfounded. It hadn’t really occurred to me until that moment that, really, I’d just made mini hand pies, but just like the woman ordering a hamburger, I’m choosing to pretend I actually made cookies.

This recipe, no matter what you want to call it, comes from the blog “The Kitchen is my Playground.” You can find the original post at https://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/2018/08/blueberry-pie-cookies.html. I added extra cinnamon in my version.

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Blueberry Pie Cookies

Blueberry pie cookies are really just mini hand pies, but they are a delicious dessert, regardless.
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberry, cookies, pie

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pie crusts
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a couple baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1/4 cup water, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt, stirring gently to combine.
  • Keep the pot on medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture reaches a very low boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook for one to two minutes or until the mixture is thickened into a pie-filling consistency and remove it from the heat.
  • On a floured work surface, roll out the pie dough to about one-quarter-inch thick, and using a three-inch cookie or biscuit cutter (or the mouth of a large glass or mug), cut out as many circles as you can, placing half of them on the prepared baking sheets and reserving the rest. Keep rolling the dough out and cutting until you have used all of it.
  • Pour a few tablespoons of water in a small dish. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the dough rounds on the baking sheets to allow you to more easily seal your cookies.
  • In another small dish, beat the egg along with 1/4 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash.
  • Place about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of the blueberry filling in the middle of each dough round, and top them with another, crimping the edges all the way around with a fork for a tight seal.
  • Cut a small X into the top of each cookie with a sharp knife, and brush each with some egg wash.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool, and then transfer to them to a sealed container, or serve them warm with ice cream.

This pie filling was delicious. Even if you don’t make these cookies with it, it would make a fabulous sauce to go over ice cream or pancakes. 

I also think you could get away with using frozen blueberries. Just thaw them and let them drain well before using them.

And, yeah, sure, if you bake these, you’re really just making mini pies, and maybe somebody will argue with you that they shouldn’t be classified as cookies, but honestly, once they get a taste, they probably won’t care what they’re called, either.

This piece first appeared in print on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

There’s ‘snow’ time like the present to try these cookies

Snowball cookies, with their coating of powdered sugar, live up to their name (at least in looks) and are filled with lots of yummy pecans.

It’s probably not surprising that I have cornered the market on bringing desserts to family get togethers.

I absolutely love to bake, and my family has been gracious enough to endure my recipe experiments on a regular basis.

For Christmas this year, we’re keeping our group small with immediate family, so I sent a text to my folks and sister, asking if they had requests for the pile of goodies I’m planning on bringing for dessert.

My sister texted back that my brother-in-law wanted baklava—but then clarified that he was only requesting it because he knew finding phyllo dough in this area is pretty much impossible. (He’s truly become my annoying, lovable little brother over the years.)

I asked for a mulligan, and he supplied a real answer: snowball cookies. Now there’s a recipe I can get behind.

Snowball cookies are known by quite a few different names, from butterballs to Mexican wedding cookies, but the gist is that they’re pecan-filled, sugary goodness. The recipe I used comes from the blog “The Country Cook.” You can find the original post at https://www.thecountrycook.net/southern-pecan-butterballs/. I substituted margarine for shortening in this recipe.

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Snowball Cookies

Snowball cookies, with their coating of powdered sugar, live up to their name (at least in looks) and are filled with lots of yummy pecans.
Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, cookies, pecans, powdered sugar, shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus more to coat cookies
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Beat in the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined, and then mix in the chopped pecans.
  • Roll the dough into about one-inch balls and space them one inch apart on your baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are set up and just beginning to brown on the edges.
  • Add some powdered sugar to a bowl. Let the cookies cool for five minutes and then thoroughly coat them in the powdered sugar. Set them aside, and coat them again once they are cool.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container.

I rolled my dough into a bit bigger balls than I should have, so my snowball cookies are fairly large. I don’t think anyone will complain, though.

If you like shortbread and pecans, these will be right up your alley. Just be ready to have a light dusting of powdered sugar covering your countertop by the time you’re done.

They’re also the perfect winter-time cookie, since they truly look like little balls of snow.

Just don’t get yourself in trouble and throw one at your brother-in-law—even if he is trying to egg you on. 

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 24, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

You won’t have to ‘mull’ over trying this recipe

Oat “mull” cookies use mulling spices for flavor along with plenty of butter and oats to create chewy cookies.

I have to confess to a new addiction. 

I’m hoping that if I say it out loud, I will have more of a will to fight it, but I’m pretty sure I’m in too deep.

In true addict form, though, I want you to know that it isn’t my fault. The blame lands firmly on the shoulders of a local business and supporter of ours: Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan.

Owner Tina Ostrander has set up her website for extremely easy online shopping, and if there’s one thing I love more than shopping at local businesses, it’s not having to leave my house to do so.

On one of several recent shopping “trips” to their site to try to satisfy my Christmas shopping list, I, of course, found something on sale I needed to purchase, because not only did it sound delicious, but Tina promised a cookie recipe to come along with it. Not only that, but the title of the recipe was a pun, and if you’ve been reading my column for any length of time, you know how much I love a good food pun.

So this week’s recipe for oatmeal cookies comes from Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner and uses the Aspen Mulling Spice they carry in store and online. I used the original flavor, but they also have caramel apple and sugar-free versions that you could totally use instead. I doubled the vanilla in my version below.

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Oat “Mull” Cookies

Oat “mull” cookies use mulling spices for flavor along with plenty of butter and oats to create chewy cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies, mulling spices, oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Aspen Mulling Spice
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups quick oats or rolled oats

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the butter, vanilla, brown sugar, egg and mulling spice until it’s well combined.
  • Beat in the flour and baking soda. Mix in the oats.
  • For about two-inch cookies, drop by the teaspoonful about one-inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  • Let cool for a bit before transferring to an airtight container.

These were so delicious. I’m guessing that had something to do with how much butter was in the recipe, but the mulling spices gave them a light, autumn-like flavor that we really liked. They were just a little crispy around the edges and were a good, chewy cookie.

Plus, the recipe made just over four dozen cookies, so if you are planning on a cookie exchange or giving some treats to folks this holiday season, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this recipe.

Also, this didn’t use the whole container of mulling spice, which means I will definitely be making myself a nice steaming cup of apple cider one of these evenings.

Shopping locally is important all of the time, but it’s especially essential this year, if we want to make sure that our favorite local businesses are still around after the pandemic is over.

Getting into the stores is sometimes tough, especially for those who aren’t comfortable getting out and about right now, but there are plenty of local businesses who have adapted to the times and have online shops and will ship or let you pick things up locally.

Before you shop on “Amazon” or another online retailer, do a quick search for local entrepreneurs you can support with your dollars. Those big box stores are doing fine without your contribution, and they certainly aren’t going to send you a great recipe to try with your order.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 26, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

It’s time to get salty about your sweets

Salted caramel pretzel chocolate chip cookies combine the sweetness and gooey-ness of chocolate and caramel with the saltiness of pretzels and are a perfect pairing for a glass of milk.

Years ago, when Jimmy Fallon was on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream came out with a flavor called “Late Night Snack,” which was inspired by the show.

The combination was “vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge-covered potato chip clusters.”

Being slightly ice cream obsessed, I tried it out, despite the seemingly weird combination, but it was amazing.

I thought about that ice cream recently when I ran across this week’s recipe, and it got me to thinking about that flavor combination. Why is it that sweet and salty go together so well?

So, of course, I looked it up and found a great article from Debra Ronca at “How Stuff Works.”

“Salt isn’t just a nutrient, either,” she writes. “It’s a flavor enhancer. So, it stands to reason that if you mix sugar and salt, the salt enhances the sugar flavor. Chefs call this flavor layering, and the right mix—not too sweet and not too salty—gives your brain a positive biological response.”

If you’re like me and love the combination of sweet and salty, you’re not weird—it’s science. And, if you’re in my camp, then you definitely want to try the cookies I made this week.

This recipe comes from the blog “Two Peas and Their Pod.” You can find the original at https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/salted-caramel-pretzel-chocolate-chip-cookies. I added a little extra vanilla in my version.

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Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted caramel pretzel chocolate chip cookies combine the sweetness and gooey-ness of chocolate and caramel with the saltiness of pretzels and are a perfect pairing for a glass of milk.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cookies, pretzels, salted caramel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt or sea salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pretzels chopped
  • about 11 ounces chewy caramels
  • about 36 pretzel twists whole
  • coarse salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth, and then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pretzels.
  • Scoop the dough in about two tablespoon scoops and place a caramel piece in the center of each scoop, forming the dough completely around the caramel. (Cut your caramels into about half-inch pieces if they’re the long kind.)
  • Place the dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them about two inches apart and press a whole pretzel into the top of each cookie and sprinkle each lightly with salt.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let the cookies cool until they are set up enough to remove from the baking sheet and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. (Some of mine were oozing caramel, so I cooled them upside down.)
  • Store cookies in an airtight container.

Holy moly were these good. They did take quite awhile to set up, and even though I thought I had the caramel very well covered by the dough, it still leaked out of the bottom of almost all of the cookies a bit, so be prepared when you start removing them from the baking sheet.

I had to take these to the office, because Joey and I were going to demolish the whole batch by ourselves if I didn’t. We still ate an embarrassingly large number of them.

As much as people looked at me strangely when I talked about potato chips in ice cream, I still had quite a few takers for these cookies, so maybe times have changed, or maybe there are a lot more secret lovers of salt and sugar than I thought.

This piece first appeared in print on July 16, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Butter cookies have toddler tickled pink

Pinkalicious cookies are made with a cake mix base, with butter and cream cheese added for a rich, soft cookie.

My folks recently invited all of us over for hot dogs and hamburgers on a Saturday afternoon. We hadn’t all been in the same room since the stay-at-home orders began, and with things opening up and gathering sizes expanded, it seemed like a good time for the seven of us to socialize just a bit.

As I have been doing throughout the quarantine, I sent a video message through my sister to my two-year-old niece, asking her what I should bring for lunch.

The video I received back wasn’t quite what I expected, but I was ready for the challenge.

“Dessert, Lindsey,” she said.

“A dessert? What kind of dessert,” my sister prompted.

“Ummm…pinkalicious,” she said with a grin.

My sister pushed a little more on what kind of pink dessert she meant, and she said “pinkalicous” was another word for pink cookies.

Who knew?

Well, when the niece asks, the aunt must deliver, so this week, I’m sharing with you what was originally called “Gooey Butter Cookies” but has now been deemed “Pinkalicious” in our family.

This recipe comes from the blog “Lil’ Luna.” You can find the original post at https://lilluna.com/recipe-tip-of-the-week-gooey-butter-cookies. I added quite a bit of pink food coloring to get the color I wanted, doubled the vanilla and used sprinkles on some of the cookies in my version.

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Pinkalicious Cookies

Pinkalicious cookies are made with a cake mix base, with butter and cream cheese added for a rich, soft cookie.
Course Dessert
Keyword butter, cake mix, cookies, cream cheese, pink, powdered sugar, sprinkles

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • pink food coloring to desired hue
  • powdered sugar or sprinkles for coating cookies

Instructions

  • Beat the butter, vanilla, cream cheese and egg until the mixture is fairly smooth. Beat in the cake mix and then mix in as much food coloring as you desire.
  • Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and while the oven is preheating, roll the cookie dough into about one-inch balls and then roll them in a bowl of either powdered sugar or sprinkles. Place the balls about two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown.
  • Let them cool for a bit to set up before transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

Well, if you’re wondering how these turned out, these were absolutely fantastic. They’re soft and flavorful, and even the grownups were pretty happy to eat some “pinkalicious.”

I actually thought they were even better after sitting in my Tupperware overnight than they were straight out of the oven.

And, after sending the leftovers home with my sister and brother-in-law, I got another video message of my niece, cookie in hand.

“Thank you, Lindsey,” she said into the camera, making me absolutely melt.

My sister accused me of spoiling my sweet niece, but I’m pretty sure that’s my primary job as her aunt. And, if you’re wondering, the toddler decree was that the cookies coated in sprinkles were the best ones.

I don’t know if I’ll always be able to accomplish every kind of food that comes out of her little imagination, but I’m sure going to try.

This piece first appeared in print on June 18, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Banana cookies extend past partisan’chip’

Peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies are extremely soft and moist cake-y cookies.

Joey and I were watching TV once, early in our marriage, and an advertisement for a brownie pan that would let you have all edges brownies came on.

I reacted to it by laughing.

“Who would want only edge brownies,” I said. “The middle brownies are the best ones.”

Joey looked at me like I was crazy.

“No, the crispy edges are better,” he told me.

And that’s when we decided to agree to disagree on not only brownies, but cookies, too.

Over the years, I have been majorly disappointed with a crispy cookie recipe, while Joey has rejoiced in how great they are.

So, when I tried this week’s recipe, I have to tell you that while Joey agreed they were tasty, these were definitely more my speed: cake-y, soft and amazing.

I got this recipe from the blog “Mom on Timeout.” You can find the original post at https://www.momontimeout.com/peanut-butter-banana-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I added extra vanilla and baking chips in my version.

Print

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies are extremely soft and moist cake-y cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword banana, chocolate chips, cookies, peanut butter chips

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10-12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 10-12 ounce bag peanut butter chips

Instructions

  • Cream the butter, bananas and sugars together with a mixer. Beat in the vanilla until the mixture is smooth, and then beat in the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt. Once everything is combined, fold in the chocolate and the peanut butter chips.
  • Cover the bowl and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven and prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • Using a one-inch scoop (or just eyeball that amount with a regular spoon), place dough onto the cookie sheets, about two inches apart.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top. Let them cool completely before transferring them from the parchment paper to an airtight container.

I will warn you that these really do need to set up before you pull them from the parchment. I pulled some early, and they were falling apart (of course, if you need to test one or two for…ahem…quality control, eating some that are warm and gooey is perfectly acceptable).

They stayed soft and moist in my plastic container, and when we were able to share some of these at an office meeting, the consensus were that they were awesome, and they disappeared quickly.

It seems like there are too many flavors going on in these, but really, both the peanut butter and chocolate chips take a backseat to the banana flavor, which is the real star.

Even though these were super soft cookies, I did notice that Joey didn’t complain too much about having to eat them. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a crispy cookie or an edge brownie, either, for that matter.

We can certainly agree to disagree, but when it comes to sweets, we’re both willing to take one for the team.

This piece first appeared in print on May 28, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.