BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES

I set out to make Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies but discovered a cache of dried blueberries in my pantry–temptation. Yes, I bypassed the dried cherries, which turned out to be a good move. Another good move was cutting back on the flour so I could toss in a bit of oatmeal (love oatmeal cookies). The result: one of those rare cookies that tastes terrific hot, warm, or cold. To wit, had I not foreseen their popularity and stashed half in the fridge for lunches this week, there might not be any left. Score!

3/4  cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole dried blueberries

3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2) In large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; on medium-low speed, add eggs, milk, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt; mix until combined

3) On low speed, add oats; gradually add flour and mix until just combined

4) Stir blueberries and chocolate chips into cookie dough

5) Drop cookie dough by overly generous tablespoonfuls onto non-stick cookie sheet; bake 14-16 minutes until cookies begin to go gold; remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets; transfer to wire racks; enjoy hot, warm, or cold

Makes: 36 palm-sized cookies (that would be my girlie palm, not senior’s)

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LIME-COCONUT OATMEAL COOKIES

Well, yum! When I decided to concoct something (the warming weather made me do it), little did I know these cookies would be such a hit. Since it’s hard to go wrong with oatmeal cookies, especially those that have both a soft and crispy side, that’s where I started. And ended. Why try to improve on perfect, hmm? The addition of Craisins added a lovely “pop” to the cookies, but I imagine they would be delicious without.

Lime-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

zest of 1 lime, divided (save a large pinch for cookie tops after baking)

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/4 cups shredded sweetened coconut, divided

1 cup Craisins + 2 tbsp for cookie tops (Craisins are optional, but oh-so-good and talk about pretty!)

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl, cream butter and both sugars with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy

3) On medium speed, beat in egg, vanilla, lime zest, lime juice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

4) Beat in 1 cup coconut (reserving 1/4 cup for cookie tops), Craisins, and oats; stir in flour (dough will be on the moist side)

5) Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet, press a pinch of reserved coconut and 2 Craisins into tops; bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are golden but still soft

6) Remove from oven, scatter tiny pinches of reserved lime zest on each cookie; transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool

Makes: 2 dozen

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/23/12

CARAMEL POPCORN CUPCAKES

I think cupcakes with mountain-high frosting is glorious. However, the sight of those beauties always alarms my guys who scrape off most of the frosting and leave a beautiful mess on their plates (seems I’m the only one who eats cupcakes for the frosting). So I thought: how about mountain-high caramel popcorn cupcakes? The verdict: no caramel corn left on their plates!

Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes 2   Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

CUPCAKES:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

FROSTING:

12 Kraft individually wrapped caramels, wrappers removed (buy 1-14 oz bag and use balance for caramel corn below)

6 tbsp butter

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup half-and-half

CARAMEL POPCORN:

8 cups popcorn (I used 1 bag of microwave kettle corn)

38 (or so) Kraft individually-wrapped caramels, wrappers removed

2 tbsp water

1) CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes; add eggs, vanilla, and milk and beat until combined; beat in baking powder and salt; on low speed, gradually add flour and beat until just combined

3) Divide batter between 12 liners in muffin pan; bake 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; remove from oven and set aside to cool

4) FROSTING: While cupcakes are baking, prepare double boiler on stove by pouring 1 cup of water in bottom of double boiler and bringing to a boil over medium-high heat; to top pan of double boiler, add 12 caramels and butter; stir often until just melted (7-8 minutes)

5) Gradually stir in confectioner’s sugar and half-and-half; when mixture is combined and smooth, remove from heat and let cool on counter 10 minutes; refrigerate 1 hour or more

6) Stir frosting to a smooth consistency and frost cupcakes; refrigerate

7) CARAMEL CORN: Pop popcorn, discard unpopped kernels (don’t want to chip a tooth); set popcorn aside

8) In large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add caramels and 2 tbsp water; stirring constantly, melt into a smooth caramel sauce; remove from heat and immediately pour popcorn into sauce; with plastic spoon, gently stir popcorn until well coated; remove cupcakes from refrigerator; lightly wet hands and, working quickly (and carefully if your skillet is hot), scoop a small handful of caramel-coated popcorn, pat into ball shape, and gently push down into frosting on cupcake; repeat with remaining cupcakes

9) Serve immediately or refrigerate for later (if your guys will let you)

Makes: 12 cupcakes

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/25/12.

OATMEAL MARSHMALLOW COCONUT RAISIN COOKIES

These oatmeal raisin cookies are SO good–chewy and crisp in all the right ways. As for the marshmallows, I quickly learned the error of mixing them into the batter before baking. Though they’re a wonderful addition, some of the cookies were difficult to remove from the cookie sheet due to the tenacity of melted marshmallows. The fix: after dropping spoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheet, push 2-3 marshmallows into tops of cookies. Ta da!

Oatmeal Marshmallow-Coconut Raisin Cookie

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)

3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups (approximately) mini marshmallows

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes; beat in eggs and vanilla; beat in cinnamon, allspice, cloves, sea salt, and baking soda

3) Using a wooden spoon, stir in oats, coconut, and raisins; stir in flour until just combined

4) Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto non-stick cookie sheet; press 2-3 marshmallows into top of each cookie (not too near the edges); bake 10-12 minutes until tops are lightly golden; remove from oven, let sit 5 minutes, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely (or treat yourself to a nice warm cookie–my guys certainly did)

Makes: about 3 dozen

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/28/12.

LEMON-BERRY SORBET CAKE NESTLED IN A GINGERSNAP CRUST AND FESTOONED WITH CHOCOLATE RIBBONS

Yes, I’m revisiting our favorite Lemon-Berry Sorbet Cake. How can I not when there are holiday gatherings around every corner and celebrations to be celebrated? This time, though, I changed things up–but just a bit since it’s hard to improve on near perfect 🙂

2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (put cookies in large zip top bag, pound a bit, and “crumb” with a rolling pin)

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 pints lemon sorbet, softened (divided)

1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened

2-1/2 cups frozen mixed berries (or fresh)

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels

1) Combine cookies crumbs and melted butter, stir well and press into bottom of 10″ springform pan; freeze 10-15 minutes until firm

2) Spread 1 pint softened lemon sorbet over crumb crust; freeze 20 minutes

3) Spread 1 pint softened raspberry sorbet over lemon sorbet; freeze 20 minutes

4) Spread 1 pint softened lemon sorbet over raspberry sorbet; scatter berries across top and gently press into sorbet

5) Melt chocolate morsels (I microwave 30-45 seconds, spoon into sandwich bag, and snip a small hole in bottom corner); squeeze several thin “ribbons” of melted chocolate over berries; cut larger hole in sandwich bag and squeeze several thick “ribbons” over berries; return sorbet cake to freezer for a minimum of one hour (preferably 2 or more)

6) To serve, remove sorbet cake from springform pan; allow to sit 5-10 minutes; slice and serve immediately

Servings: 8-12 (of course, you might be kidding yourself)

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 06/13/12

LEMON-COCONUT-PECAN COOKIES

Fabulous cookies. I mean FABULOUS–providing you like lemon, coconut, and pecans. And if you just want to go lemon, simply cut out the coconut and pecans. Junior said these are some of the best cookies I’ve made, which is high praise. Of course, I’m grateful to him for eating his share since it meant fewer for me to sneak onto my waistline.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg

3 tsp fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with mixer until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla, egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; beat in flour until just combined; stir in pecans and coconut flakes

3) Drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet; bake 9-10 minutes until cookies turn golden; remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet 2-3 minutes; remove to wire rack to finish cooling

4) Grab a glass of milk and enjoy your cookies!

Makes: 3 dozen cookies

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 06/11/12.

FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES WITH LOADS OF YUMMY ADD-INS

I wasn’t sure about flourless cookies but decided to give them a try. These beauties are the result–not only pretty but tasty. In fact, I don’t believe you’d know they were flourless unless told. Of course, one of my favorite ingredients–Craisins–was included, but look at what else these cookies feature: currants, walnuts, chocolate chips, and dried blueberries. The “everything but the kitchen sink” treatment. Yum!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1-1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup currants (or raisins)

1/4 cup Craisins + 1/4 cup (for tops)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup dried blueberries (optional)

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini morsels chocolate chips

4-1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) With mixer at medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy; on medium speed, mix in eggs, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and peanut butter

3) When mixture is smooth, mix in currants, 1/4 cup Craisins (reserving 1/4 cup for tops), walnuts, blueberries (optional), and chocolate chips

4) On low speed, add oats one cup at a time; mix until just incorporated (it gets a bit thick, so you may want to mix in the last cups of oatmeal by hand)

5) Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet about 1″ apart; press a couple of reserved Craisins into top of each ball of cookie dough (pretty!); bake 8-10 minutes until golden; remove from oven, let cool on pan 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to finish cooling

Makes: About 5 dozen cookies

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 06/18/12.