Category Archives: Cookies

Christmas Love: Chocolate Chip Cookies

‘Tis the season to be Fa La La….as an old friend liked to say. ‘Tis the season to be baking as well, and the oven is already fired up and the cookie sheets are parchment lined. Every year my cookie list gets a little bit shorter which requires the recipe selection to be totally on point. Biscotti have to appear, as do Peanut Butter Blossoms. I have to save space for one or two new recipes which leaves only 2 more spaces (yes, I am limiting things to 6 recipes this year) for old standbys.

As long as I can remember baking, Chocolate Chip Cookies have been part of the holidays. My mother always made the original Toll House Cookie recipe. Legend (or truth) has it, that it originated at The Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth Gains Wakefield is credited with creating it back in 1938 and it is a tried and true recipe that has stood the test of time.

It is a basic cookie dough that combines butter, white, and brown sugar with chocolate chips and quite often, nuts. It is wonderful just as it was written, but oh what delights can result from tweaking the recipe here and there. The variations I am sharing today are perfect examples.

Imagine, if you will, that basic cookie dough laced with candied cherries and orange peel, studded with toasted pecans and mini chocolate chips. Then imagine the addition of warm spices like cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. Notes of fruitcake, but in the best way possible and a delightful chewiness that made my first grandson dub these his favorite cookie ever. 

Chocolate Chip Fruit Drop Cookies
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Servings
6 Dozen
Servings
6 Dozen
Chocolate Chip Fruit Drop Cookies
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Servings
6 Dozen
Servings
6 Dozen
Ingredients
Servings: Dozen
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time blending gently but well.
  5. Stir in the candied fruits, nuts, and chips.
  6. Drop by tablespoon on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store airtight.
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Variations are endless. Try pistachios and dried tart cherries or almonds and dried cranberries. There are so many varieties of chocolate chips now that simply swapping bittersweet or milk chocolate can create something magical.

You can even use White Chocolate Chips. Debbie Downer Alert: I realize that these ar not real white chocolate, but only a blend of milk, fat, and sugar marketed to imitate white chocolate. They worked well in this recipe, but if one wants to be totally a purist, a good quality real white chocolate bar could be chopped up and substituted. That being said, chopped chocolate would not lend itself to the “Pearl” analogy in the name of this recipe, but maybe you could call them “gems.”

In spite of the truth in labeling issue, these cookies were delicious. Cocoa gave them a rich chocolate flavor that was heightened by the addition of a bit of espresso powder, always a good idea when making anything chocolate.

Chocolate and Pearls Cookies
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Servings
4 Dozen
Servings
4 Dozen
Chocolate and Pearls Cookies
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Servings
4 Dozen
Servings
4 Dozen
Ingredients
Servings: Dozen
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. whisk together to blend thoroughly.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl. Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. add the vanilla and beat to blend.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients (a third at a time). gently blend. Fold in the chips.
  5. Spoon by scant tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. bake at 350 degrees 8 - 10 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes.
  7. Remove to cooling racks and allow to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.
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Another wonderful thing about the chocolate chip family of doughs, they freeze beautifully. Good to know if your baking time is limited to small windows at random hours. Whatever your baking plans this holiday season, I hope that you include something with chocolate chips and other wonderful ingredients that bring out your own Fa La La.

Nonna’s Cookbook : Entry #2 – Anise and Almond Biscotti

The holidays are becoming a distant memory. The decorations have been put away, the gifts have been used and are no longer the newest thing in the house, and we Midwesterners are dreaming about Spring.

Every year at Christmas I make at least one batch of Biscotti. When I say  “Biscotti” it is the Anise and Almond variety that I am referring to. I’ve made lots of other varieties over the years, but this is my favorite. I can make them in my sleep at this point, but I enjoy the process so much, I stay wide awake.

I shared “Nonna’s Cookbook” that I got for Christmas in my last post. To stay true to my resolution to preserve my favorite recipes, I felt the need to share another entry.

I love this recipe! The cookies are tender yet crisp. The flavor is a subtle blend of anise and almond with delightful notes of vanilla in the background. To me they are everything biscotti should be. It makes lots of cookies so there is always plenty to go around. It’s a recipe that can be made in an afternoon or done in steps throughout a week. Most of all, it is the recipe I love the most. Give it a try and don’t wait until next Christmas.

Anise Almond Biscotti
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My favorite biscotti recipe! Hope you'll love it, too.
Servings
8 dozen
Servings
8 dozen
Anise Almond Biscotti
Print Recipe
My favorite biscotti recipe! Hope you'll love it, too.
Servings
8 dozen
Servings
8 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and sugar until well incorporated using an electric mixer. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flavorings and the anise seeds and mix until well combined. Add the almonds and mix until combined. This is easier than adding the almonds after the flour.
  2. Whisk flour baking powder and salt together to aerate and blend. Slowly mix flour mixture into the wet mixture. You will have to add the last flour and mix by hand. Gather dough together and turn onto a lightly floured board, pat into a flat round.
  3. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Pat and roll each piece into a log 12 - 14 inches long. Flatten the log to 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide. At this point they are ready to bake. If you want you to bake them later, wrap each log in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Let logs come to room temperature before you bake them.
  4. When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place no more than 2 logs on each greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 - 20 minutes.Remove from oven let cool several minutes until easily handled. Carefully move each log to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into 3/4 inch slices.
  5. Lay cut side down back on the baking sheet. Return to oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes more, turning the cookies after after 8 - 10 minutes to toast other side.
  6. Place the cookies on a rack to cool. Store airtight. These will keep for about a week. They can be frozen for a month or so.
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