Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tomorrow is National Homemade Cookie Day, so you know we'll be celebrating the best way we know how -- by crafting a batch of homemade cookies! Nothing says "autumn" like a piping hot batch of golden brown sweet treats fresh from the oven waiting to be adorned with tasty candies or colorful frosting. We rounded up a few of the cookie recipes that are on our must-try list, so if you've been looking for an excuse to stock up on the sugar and chocolate chips, there's no better reason! 

Double Trouble Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Honey Cookies
From Half Baked Harvest

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
4-6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 cup Reese's Pieces (or more)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg + egg yolk and beat well. Beat in the peanut butter and honey.
3. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks and Reese's Pieces.
4. Roll the dough into scant tablespoon size balls. Stack two balls together and place them two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, but no longer. Over baking them is never good! Allow to cool three minutes then eat warm or move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies:
From Buns In My Oven

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup jelly

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Begin by creaming the butters and sugars for the cookies. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
3. In a small bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 4. Mix into the creamed butter and sugars.
5 .Mix in the oats and stir until combined.
6. Drop teaspoonfuls (or use a small cookie scoop) of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Make a criss-cross with a fork to flatten the cookies.
7. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
8. When cookies are completely cooled, flip half of them over. Spread each cookie with peanut butter and jelly. Top with the remaining cookies.

Vegan Almond Shortbread Cookies
From Love And Lemons

1 cup butter, room temp
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar or granulated sugar *
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup millet flour (or all-purpose is fine too)
only if your butter is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt
optional toppings – pistachios, pine nuts, dried fruit, etc
(*I found powdered sugar made the dough easier to roll out for the cut-out cookies. I used organic granulated sugar, which is more coarse, for the squares).

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Sift all dry ingredients together.
3. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix butter and almond extract together (as best you can).
4. Add dry ingredients and mix everything together. Use your hands if necessary to incorporate the butter and get the dough to come together. Your dough will be pretty crumbly. Stop when it has just come together, don’t overmix. Form it into a ball.
**For cutout cookies: roll onto a nonstick baking sheet (I rolled pine nuts into the top of my dough), until your dough is about 1/4 inch thick. (If the dough is sticky and you’re having a hard time, put it in the fridge for a little bit so the butter in the dough stiffens up). Bake for about 20 minutes, until the dough starts to turn golden brown. Remove, let cool almost completely before you cut out your shapes. Note: you’ll have a lot of “scraps” with this method and will yield less finished cookies.
**For square shortbread: Press dough into an edged baking pan along with any toppings you like. I made a half recipe and used a 5×7 pan, my cookies were a about 1/2 inch thick. Since they were on the thick side, I baked these for about 30-35 minutes, until they started turning golden brown on top. The time will vary depending on the thickness, so just watch them. Once they’re done, let cool and then slice.

Fudge Striped Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies
From How Sweet It Is

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Melt the peanut butter and butter first so it has time to cool - I melted them together, microwaving for about 30 seconds, stirring, and then 30 seconds more, stirring again until melted. Set aside until cool.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, peanut butter and sugars until smooth. Add in pumpkin and egg, mixing again until combined, then stir in vanilla extract. Using a large spoon, gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring well and using your hands if needed to bring the dough together (I do this!). Just keep mixing - it will come together! Once the dough is combined, I stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
4. After sticking it in the fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Roll the dough into balls that are slightly smaller than 1 inch in size. Place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart, baking for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.
6. To make fudge strips, heat heavy cream until warm. Pour it over the chocolate chips in a bowl and mix until a ganache forms, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Place cookies on parchment or wax paper and drizzle chocolate over top. Let cookies sit for 30 minutes for chocolate to firm up.

Now that you're set on cooking up a batch of delightful cookies, all that's left to do is grab a glass of milk and enjoy the day dedicated to baking one of our favorite treats! For even more recipes, take a look at our past posts here!