Chai-Spice Sugar Cookies

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     I’m sorry for the lack of indentations.  I don’t know why, but except for the first paragraph, the indentations won’t show up in the final post.  I’ve tried to edit the post and re-post it, but I can’t figure out how to fix it. 

     Today I have the most amazing cookies to share with you! Okay, so I know that I’m kind of always saying that or something pretty similar about almost every recipe I mention, but somehow it’s always true, especially here! These are chai-spice sugar cookies. As someone who absolutely loves a good chai tea latte, as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I needed to make it. I would have made it sooner, too, but cardamom isn’t exactly a staple spice in my cabinet.  I had to go to a few stores before I found it at a reasonable price.  (Check out Target.)
These cookies have a soft, slightly chewy texture with a wonderfully warm, subtle, spicy flavor. The spiciness isn’t overwhelming at all, either.  Like I said, the flavor is subtle.
Do you ever eat a cookie that just makes you want to melt from the taste-induced happiness? When I bit into a warm chai cookie, I just wanted to melt blissfully away.  Even though there is nothing like these hot out of the oven, they’re still really yummy cooled off.
Right now, I’m going to urge you, as a friend, to make an extremely profitable investment. Please procure a copy of the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook for yourself. This is where I found this recipe.  A lot of my absolutely favorite recipes come from this cookbook. I am going to talk about a pumpkin spice cheesecake soon that also came from there. I love this cookbook. It is one of my favorites, and definitely it is my go-to cookbook. There, that’s all I have to say. I’m not a paid advertiser. I’m just a very satisfied consumer.
Oh, and if you do make these, don’t be scared off by the smell of cardamom. I became extremely concerned about the outcome of these cookies when I unscrewed the lid of the cardamom bottle and was overwhelmed by the Pledge-like scent. By the time the dough is all baked up, you won’t be able to detect a whiff of wood cleaner! Your kitchen, instead, will be filled with a warm, autumn, bakery smell. Really, the aroma emanating from your oven is almost as good as the actual taste of the cookies.

P.S. I cheated and used 2% milk instead of whole milk, and the cookies turned out fine.  I just couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire gallon of whole milk just for one tablespoon of it.

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Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

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     Let me ask you a question.  What’s the only thing better than a cookie?  How about a cookie with a cookie inside of it?  Yes, I’m talking about the famed Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies!  I’ve seen these cookies on Pinterest and all around the internet.  Now, when I first saw them, I was skeptical about putting a fully baked cookie within a cookie.  That was before I tried double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies, though.  That completely cured me of my doubt about the magic of baking Oreos into cookies.  After trying those, I couldn’t wait to tackle the full-fledged Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies!

       Now, what can I say about these cookies?  They’re delicious.  They’re gigantic (I’m talking in between a golf ball and a tennis ball), and they are fun to eat!  The Oreo-stuffed cookies are also really pretty when you bite into them, and they make people’s eyes pop when you tell them that there is a whole Oreo inside of there.  Fun!

Chocolate, Chocolate, White Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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     Hello, all!  Yesterday was the official end of summer.  While I’m sad to see that season go until next year, I’m way more excited for fall baking than I probably should be.  Right now I have a pan of pumpkin pie bars cooling on the counter, and the house is filled with an amazing, buttery, spicy smell.  Each season has its own style of food.  To me, fall is pies and bars, pumpkin and apple, cinnamon and spice.  Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up with a mug of tea, a blanket, and Betsy’s Wedding.

     Now, with all this talk about fall and spices, you might be lead to believe that I’m going to post a fall recipe.  Well, I’m not.  These chocolate, chocolate, white chocolate chip cookies, though, are perfect for anytime of the year.  Before I go any further, I would like to say how much I love the Pioneer Woman’s blog!  Her recipes are delicious (and almost always full of butter—the best kind!).  Anyway, these cookies are like a chocolate explosion.  Yum, yum, YUM!  My only note I’d like to add is that I used chopped white chocolate instead of chips.  Mmm, I want some of these cookies right now!

Double Chocolate Chunk Oreo Cookies (Cookies and Cream Cookies)

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     Do you ever run across a recipe, decide to try it though you’re skeptical, and end up discovering something amazing?  That happened to me!  Okay, let me first explain why I was skeptical about these double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies (or cookies and cream cookies, as I like to call them.)

     My first doubt arose from putting a cookie in a cookie (I know!  I know!  Cookie-stuffed cookies are all over Pinterest, and everyone says they are amazing.  I’m a learning-by-doing kind of person.  I needed to try it for myself to actually believe the hype.  Technically, though, I haven’t yet tried the real Oreo-stuffed cookies, but I’m getting off track here.).  Why would a completely baked and ready to eat cookie taste good re-baked into a different cookie?  Wouldn’t the Oreos burn?  Wouldn’t they get really dry?  They’re so delicious by themselves, why not just eat them plain?!?  You know why you shouldn’t eat them plain?  It’s because they don’t burn or get dry and taste even better when encapsulated in cookie dough and chocolate chips.  That’s why!

     My second doubt arose from the fact that these cookies are made with shortening and not butter.  I’m a hardcore baking-with-butter fan.  Double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies have changed my mind about exclusively using butter in cookies, though.  The cookies were soft on the inside yet light and crisp on the outside.  Plus, the cookies underwent this strange change.

     You know how usually if cookies last more than a day and a half, they begin to get kind of tough?  These cookies changed texture just a little to become crisper.  It’s strange, but it’s true.  Now, I’m not talking about crunchy, here.  I don’t do crunchy cookies.  I’m talking about a delicious, buttery (ironic) crispness.  Maybe this phenomenon, though, was just a result of the humidity level in the kitchen that week.  The moral of the story is that these cookies are amazing right out of the oven and also amazing a few days later.

     Please, try these cookies.  It’s hard to explain how delectable the combination of Oreos, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chunks really is.  If you need any convincing, let me just say that these cookies disappeared very quickly!  These are the kind of cookies that make it hard to eat just one!

     I made the double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I had a couple of notes about what I did that I wanted to share.  I’ve made so many things since then, though, that my cookie-recipe-overloaded brain is having a hard time recalling them.  I believe that they were as follows:

1.       I, as usual, chopped up a white chocolate baking bar since I can never find real white chocolate chips.  I believe I used a whole four ounce bar.

2.       I quartered the Oreos for my first batch and stirred them by hand into the dough so that they wouldn’t get broken up into pieces.  These chunks actually seemed a little too big to me in the finished product.  I had large fragments of Oreos jutting out the tops and sides of the cookies.  For my second batch, I put the quartered Oreos into the bowl of the mixer.  The paddle broke them down into smaller pieces, which I liked better.

3.       Ummm….

4.       I turned my oven down between the 325˚ and 350˚ marks on the oven knob.  My oven runs kind of hot, though.

     Happy baking and go check out Bakergirl’s blog.  I’m not trying to be bossy, but I really think you’ll be happy if you do!  The things I’ve tried from her blog so far (chocolate chip espresso bars and the double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies) have been fabulous.  I can’t wait to try more!

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M&M Cookies

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     Do you love M&M cookies?  I personally love the idea of M&M cookies.  I mean, what could be better than colorful chocolate candies inside a cookie?  Sadly, these cookies hardly ever live up to their potential and visual appeal.

     Even though I know M&M cookies usually turn out to be disappointing, whenever I see a package of them at the store or a platter of them at a party, I always find myself compelled to go try one, just hoping that maybe, maybe, this will be the one to live up to my cookie expectations.  That never happened…until now!

     After making Mrs. Fields’s amazing chocolate chip cookies the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder that if these were so amazing with chocolate chips, what would happen if I put M&Ms in them?  I tried, and it blew my mind!  They turned out to be the best M&M cookies I have ever eaten.  Everyone that tried them agreed.  Just thinking about these cookies makes me crave them.

     To make the M&M cookies, just follow the recipe for Mrs. Fields’s chocolate chip cookies, but instead of putting chocolate chips in, substitute the medium bag of M&Ms (I believe it is 11.6 ounces, or something close to that).  Also, boost the flavor by using a whole tablespoon of vanilla, which is actually what I’ve started doing with the regular chocolate chip cookies, too.

     Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Espresso Bars

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   The other day I needed to supplement black and white spiral butter cookies that I was bringing somewhere, and I needed it to be something fast because I had

1.       Already spent around five hours the night before making black and white spiral cookies and

2.       Needed to leave with the food soon

     I hopped online and, after searching around, found myself at Bakergirl’s blog.  Her recipe for chocolate chip espresso bars intrigued me.  They had cinnamon but no eggs?  What kind of bars would they be?  Even though I had a few doubts about the no egg thing, Bakergirl’s blog post was just too convincing!  I decided I had to make these!  I’m so glad that I did, too.

     Bakergirl likened the smell of these bars to baking a small Starbucks coffee shop in your oven, and it is completely true.  Oddly enough, I would kind of describe the taste like that, too.  With the espresso, cinnamon, and chocolate in the bars, they taste not only like some amazing coffee drink but also like that first wonderful whiff of coffee-and-spice goodness that you experience when you step through the door of a coffee shop.

     Now, I hate cutting bars…like hate it!  I (confession) will actually avoid making bars of any sort just because cutting them is almost always a nightmare.  (I used to avoid brownies, too, until my sister gave me the most amazing brownie pan ever from Home Goods.)  Bars break.  They stick to the pan.  They crumble.  They cut unevenly.  I end up with a big plate of mismatched, jagged-edged chunks of whatever bar was originally in my pan.  Looking at the pitiful plate of bars that was once a beautiful, delicious-looking pan of dessert usually makes me want to cry.  You understand my reservations about making these since they are definitely bars, too.  These also didn’t have eggs.  How would they even hold together at all!?!?!  My fears proved to be groundless.

     I have never come across a cookie bar that cut so beautifully.  I was able to slide a steak knife right through the bars.  They didn’t pull or tear or stick, not even to the sides of the pan (which I had greased with Crisco).  I ended up with a plate of fantastic, beautiful bars that I proudly took with me.  Another great thing is that the recipe makes a 10×15 sheet.  How awesome is that?  I love recipes that make sharing-size batches of food.

     If you love coffee, make these.  If you hate coffee, make these!  I gave these to someone who certifiably hates coffee, and even she said that these were really good.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner, folks!  Plus, these are eggless.  If you know anyone who has an egg allergy, which I do, these bars would be perfect to make for them!

     Note:  I didn’t glaze these because I needed them to stack and transport neatly, and I didn’t know how sticky the glaze would dry.  Next time I make these, though, I definitely want to try them with the glaze.

Quaker’s Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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     Good evening!  Tonight seems like an oatmeal raisin cookie kind of night.  That’s why I’m going to post my mom’s favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  Oatmeal raisin cookies are her favorite kind of cookie, and she’s never found a recipe that can beat this one.  It’s just that good!

     This is the recipe that used to appear on the cartons of Quaker’s oatmeal.  I believe that the recipe on the cartons is now a little different and not quite as good.  I retyped the directions in my own words, but the recipe as a whole is the same.

     I know I’m posting this recipe in the summer, but if you ever want to make cookies that embody fall, I would suggest making these.  The earthiness of the oats, the sweetness of the raisins, and the spiciness of the cinnamon brings to me flashes of crisp air, vibrant leaves crunching underfoot, and wood smoke in the air.

Quaker’s Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

3 cups Quaker oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked) [I always use old fashioned oats]

1 cups raisins

Directions

     Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.  Cream the butter and sugars together.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined.  Mix in the oats and raisins.  Optional: Chill the bowl of dough, covered in plastic wrap, for thirty minutes before baking.

     Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place balls or spoonfuls of dough onto the sheets.  Bake for about eight minutes (It may be more or less depending on the size of your cookies and also on your oven) or until the cookies are a lovely golden brown.