Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chocolate-dipped Orange Cookies

What a busy week this has been! I was offered the opportunity to make treats for a WEDDING! Now granted, they're being served at the tail-end of the reception, after the cake has been served, but still! The woman (whose son is getting married) said she'd take pictures of the treats on display at the wedding and send them to me, so hopefully I'll get those and be able to post them here, too!

I decided to make three different treats. I made my Cinnamon Pinwheels, Cookies au Creme, and a new recipe: Cake mix cookies! Specifically, chocolate-dipped orange cookies.
I got the recipe from a friend of mine, Nikki (who is amazing in the kitchen). The recipe is reaaally simple. I did an orange cookie, half-dipped in chocolate. I wanted something with a little extra sass, that was also unusual, for people to "ooh" and "ahh" at at the wedding. I think I succeeded with these!

Everybody that I fed these to as samples LOVED them. Not one person thought they were less than amazing!
The great thing about the recipe is that you can use ANY boxed cake mix. Because I couldn't find an actual box of orange cake mix, I used white cake mix and added 4tsp of orange extract. Yummm!
I also used a box of strawberry (See below!) but it had that artificial-strawberry flavor. I've come to the conclusion that strawberry cookies should not exist.
Now, the first time I made these I used my KitchenAid. I also rolled out the dough and cut it into shapes, which probably had to do with why I didn't add any extra flour to the dough itself.
The second time (when I made a batch for work) I used a hand held mixer, and I had to add a LOT of flour to get it to be a good texture. When I scooped them, I used a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon to get them the same size.
Cake Mix Cookie Recipe:
  • One box cake mix (any flavor)
  • Two eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Flour (Not sure how much-- it varies)
  • 4tsp orange extract (if you go for the orange cookies)
  • One bag chocolate chips, melted (you pick what sort!)


  • Preheat oven to 300
  • Beat together the cake mix, eggs, and vegetable oil.
  • If needed, add enough flour to get it to a cookie dough-like consistency.
  • Either roll out and cut cookies into shapes, or drop onto cookie sheet.
  • If dropping onto cookie sheet, press down so they're about 1/4" thick. They don't seem to spread at all, or VERY little.
  • Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until just firm to the touch.
  • Leave to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Serve plain, or dip in melted chocolate-- or drizzle with melted chocolate.

Note: I used milk chocolate for the orange cookies, and dark chocolate for the strawberry. Try mixing it up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sugar-Free Cookies (with Jell-O)

Recently, there's been a little scare in the family having to do with diabetes/pre-diabetes/what all of that means.

So, to show that I'm here to support my family, I decided to bake up something sugarless. I settled for one that embraces a slightly less usual ingredient.
There are a lot of recipes that are sugar-free, but use Splenda or Equal in place of the sugar. And don't get me wrong, those recipes sounded fine, but I wanted to find something a little more unusual/special to make, to show that being diabetic/pre-diabetic doesn't mean not having choices.

When I found this recipe, I was really intrigued. It cuts out sugar substitutes all together, and instead calls for one new ingredient: A package of sugar-free Jell-O! Any flavor! Not the gigantic box, just the regular-- and you have a lot of choices.

The two I picked were orange, and strawberry banana. I also bought a package of raspberry, which I think I'm going to turn into gelatin for myself. :D

The best things about using Jell-O in the recipe:
1) It turns the dough the same color as the flavor! The orange (duh.) And the strawberry banana came out this really pretty pink.

2) The dough smells SO GOOD. You'll want to eat it right out of the bowl (leave out the egg, and you can, no risk!)

The things that could be improved on:
1) The consistency within the cookie was odd. The outside was dry and really made me thirsty, while the inside was soft and weirldy flaky.

2) The flavor, somehow. Tangy and attacked my whole mouth, but really flour-y too. Maybe it was just from rolling out the dough onto a floured surface, with a floured rolling pin.

But the cookies don't spread much at all, so you can pack a lot onto a tray and cut down on how long you're waiting to bake. Rolling them out also gives you the ability to cut them into cute shapes!

Sugar-Free Cookie Recipe

  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 package sugar-free Jell-O (small package, any flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Cream together the butter and Jell-O powder.
  • Add in egg and vanilla, beat.
  • Beat in baking powder, then flour bit by bit. Incorporate well.
  • Roll dough out onto floured surface until relatively thin (1/4"? That's a guess)
  • Cut out desired shapes, and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch. (Cookies will not brown)
Final say:

The orange ones went over well. The strawberry banana smelled good and were pretty, but the flavor wasn't as pleasing. It's so easy to make the dough though, that you could experiment with various flavors-- just make sure the packages of Jell-O say "Sugar Free" or you defeat the purpose!

(Original recipe found here)

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Toys!

One of my mom's bestest friends, Cam, is having an estate sale this weekend. But being the most terrific lady that she is, she let me come by early and have first pick of what she's selling. As a result, I got three amazing new things for a third as much as I would've paid in store.

The first thing I got? This gooorgeous set of ceramic mixing bowls.
Don't they just SCREAM summer??

The second new item: A bread maker!
For the last two or three years, I've had this weird obsession with getting a bread maker. I've made bread from scratch only once, but I've still had the urge to make bread. Now I can! I even bought a couple of recipe books from her that are full of different bread recipes. Nomnomnom.

And third, which is my most satisfying purchase eeeeever...

A KitchenAid!

Since I've been a Tator Tot (..Yeah, I used to be called that when I was a lil kid) I've only ever used hand-held mixers. I didn't realize until I took baking classes in high school how much easier it was to use a KitchenAid. Since then, I've had the desire to own one. Since about a month ago, it's all I've been able to think about. And when Cam told me that she was selling one, I'm sure I squealed in delight.
I bought it from her yesterday. I used it for the first time today. And let me tell you... it was glorious!

Now my next big cooking goal in life: Some day own a kitchen with so much counterspace that I don't even know what to do with it all.

Some day, Taylor. Some day!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

In theory, this recipe sounds DELICIOUS. But because of three things I did, they came out just slightly less tasty. But still good!

The three main chocolates are:
Dark chocolate, which creates the actual cookie yumness.
Milk chocolate chips
White chocolate chips

The first mistake, which accounts for two errors in the cookies, was following this recipe exactly. First was adding the full amount of flour. It calls for 1 1/4 cups. I suggest sticking to 1 at the most, or maybe a little less.

Second was adding the full amount of macadamia nuts. It was an overload for the cookies! It calls for a cup of macadamia halves-- I suggest 1/2 cup of macadamia quarters (which you'll cut yourself, since they come halved) then judging further from there.

The third was my inability to tell when chocolate cookies are done. I mean, it's hard to tell when a cookie is brown on the edges when the entire dough is brown.. So two of my three trays ended up slightly overcooked.

With the dark chocolate, the recipe calls for 11oz of at least 70% cacao.
The problem with this is that a 3.5oz bar of 72% costs $4.69 at my store.

So, not wanting to totally bland-up my cookies, I bought one bar of the expensive stuff, then two bars of the Hershey's Special Dark bars (4.25oz each) to get what I needed.

Everything else seemed to be contributing to a perfect cookie recipe! Since you have to leave them on the pan to firm up anyway, I think cooking them for an even 12 minutes, then taking them out, will be perfect.

Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Recipe:
  • 3oz milk chocolate chips
  • 3oz white chocolate chips
  • 11oz dark chocolate (min. 70% cocao)
  • 7tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nut quarters (or halves, halved)


  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Put the two types of chocolate chips in a bowl together, and mix.
  • Take one of the chocolate bars (if you did what I did, one of the Hershey Special Dark bars) and break apart all of the squares except three (these three will be melted with the other chocolate.)
  • Take the individual squares, break in half again, then mix in with the chocolate chips.
  • In a separate, microwave safe bowl, break apart the rest of the chocolate.
  • Heat until melted.
  • In a third, large bowl, pour the melted chocolate in with the butter. Mix well.
  • Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix.
  • Add half of the flour, beat together, then add the rest and beat.
  • Use a spoon to mix in the milk, white, and dark chocolate chips/chunks.
  • Mix in the macadamia nuts.
  • Scoop by tablespoon onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Heat 12 minutes, then remove from oven.
  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lemon Cookies

Well, this was a coincidence! I was in the mood for something lemon so I decided to make lemon cookies. When I went to the store to buy the ingredients I needed, a bright yellow sign greeted me: The sign for Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Each year the foundation sets up a stand outside of the grocery store where I work (among other places) and sells cups of lemonade to raise money for childhood cancer. Check out the site!

Back to the topic at hand, I made lemon cookies! They came out much more cakey than I expected them to, but they were still good.

They didn't spread as much as I thought they would, either. I used a tablespoon (measuring spoon) to scoop the dough. After doing this, I suggest flattening them down some, because they do rise a little but they don't spread, so flattening them will make them more even.

Another reason to flatten them: It makes the cookie more round. In the pictures you can tell the difference between the ones I pressed, and the ones that I simply lumped-- they're the ones that came out more jagged. Having them flat adds a little extra to the presentation.

The cookie recipe is from one recipe online, and the icing recipe is from another. Both were found on but I tweaked both of them so much that I couldn't find the originals later!
Lemon Cookie Recipe

  • Cookie Recipe
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/2 lemon rind, grated
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • Icing Recipe
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp milk (with a little extra on-hand to get the right consistency)


  • Cream sugar and shortening.
  • Add the egg and beat until fluffy.
  • Add lemon juice and grated rind, beat together.
  • Beat in baking soda and baking powder.
  • Mix in the flour, alternating with the milk.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough (against the side of the bowl to flatten it) and drop onto a cookie sheet. Flatten with your fingers slightly.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes. Let cool.
  • Blend together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  • Slowly add milk until you get a proper consistency for icing.
  • Drizzle over the cookies.

Proof that I put effort into the display pictures I take. (;