Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another "doodle" (honeydoodles)

When looking to try a new cookie recipe I often turn to my favorite cookie book "The Ultimate cookie book" from Better Homes and gardens which offers a wide range of options, that seldom disappoint. (book linked here: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Cookie-Better-Gardens-Cooking/dp/0696236796/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266804344&sr=8-1)

I had to make cookies for a ski weekend away with my aunt, cousin, and our respective guys, so I decided I would bang out some cookies on Saturday morning before we drove up to Vermont. I'm a honey fan, and I usually lean towards "rolled" or "shaped" cookies, so I thought these "drop" cookies would be a welcome departure from the norm.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup honey
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
cinnamon and sugar for dusting (optional)

First off, cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer to loosen it up, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Next add the honey from your little honey-bear friend. Mix well. Add in the baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix it up, baby.

Add in the egg and mix until well combined. Finally, slowly add the flour. The resulting dough will be very sticky. SUPER sticky. You will definitely need to do some major bowl scraping to get all the dough into the equation.

These cookies are "drop" cookies which means, in theory, that you can just drop dollops of dough onto your cookie sheets. I am a control freak however, and felt the need to at least roughly shape the dough into balls. probably unnecessary but, I just don't like to leave my cookies to chance. I ran out of parchment paper this particular morning (tragedy!) so I had to bake these the old fashioned way on a greased cookie sheet.

They came out fine, but the lack of paper will make the bake-time faster. SO if you find yourself without parchment, err on the side of too short, instead of too long. Too long = burnt bottoms.

The recipe said that you could optionally sprinkle the cookies with cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon is never optional in my book so, of course, I went for it.

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.

And there you have it! These cookies, in all honesty, are a little weird. I actually wasn't sure that I liked them, so I made some snickerdoodles to go along with the honeydoodles so no one would be disappointed in my lackluster cookies. HOWEVER, after further research (i.e. eating lots of cookies) I've discovered that I really enjoy these subtle, biscuit-like cookies, which go great with tea or coffee. They would be perfect for a brunch-type event, or maybe even on some kind of cheese tray. If you're looking for something different, and not necessarily a super sweet dessert, I would recommend giving these a try. I'm eating one with my decaf tea right now :)

Honeydoodles on the left, snickerdoodles on the right :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

Seeing as I've gone rogue in my last few posts, talking about bars and breads and all that nonsense, I thought I needed to try a brand spankin' new cookie recipe out of my favorite cookie-book. I'm headed to have dinner with my old bosses, who told me when I left Jones and Bartlett that what they'd miss most about me was my cookies. Not my excellent work ethic, not my superior sales performance. My cookies. Thanks ladies. I appreciate the professional reference ;) I'll bring some damn cookies to our little reunion. :)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
dash salt
2 tsp maraschino cherry liquid
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
granulated sugar
Hershey kisses

Anytime you have a recipe for cookies without any eggs, you know it's going to be a shortbread type consistency. This means a VERY crumbly dough, that you really have to shape and press together. Don't worry, you haven't made a mistake, that's how that melt-in-your-mouth, buttery goodness happens.

As always, cream together the butter and sugar. Since we're using powdered sugar, I would suggest creaming the butter on its own first, to loosen it up, then adding the powdered sugar on a low setting. Add in the salt, cherry juice, and almond extract and mix well.

De-stem and chop the cherries, then set aside. you can eat a couple. it's ok.

Don't forget to eat a couple Hershey kisses too. Note to self: next time leave the chocolate bag closed until absolutely necessary.


Stir in the flour until it is well mixed. Look out for chunks of butter standing alone. This = bad. once you have a well mixed, crumbly mess, add the chopped maraschino cherries. Once everything is equally mixed, you're ready to roll.

Admittedly, I made my cookies WAY too big. The recipe should yield 48, and I made about 24. apparently my "1-inch" balls were really "2 inch" balls. Woops. Aim for 1 inch balls, they will probably look a bit prettier. Maybe 1.5 inch balls. Who knows, why would you have a ruler handy when baking? crazy cook-book writers....

Once you have all your correctly sized balls (is this sounding dirty to anyone else?) arrange them on your cookie sheet. Give them a little room between each other, as you're about to smush them into a disk shape.

Using a drinking glass dipped in granulated sugar (I wet the bottom of the glass to help the sugar stick) press each ball into a disk shape.

Bake at 325 for 14 minutes. While the cookies are baking, unwrap your chocolate kisses. I thought this might take a long time, so I did it before hand.... and ate, oh I dunno, about 1,000 of them.

Damn you, you little piece of chocolaty heaven.

when the buzzer goes off, get ready to hustle. You want to get the cookies out of the oven, and press the kisses into the cookies pronto, while they're still really warm. the heat from the cookies with slightly melt and bond the chocolate. I would recommend sampling a cookie at this point, as the normal-looking hershey kisses are actually all melty, smooth and divine.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

I was pretty happy with these cookies, they definitely tasted yummy. next time I think I would kick up the almond a little (maybe a whole tsp instead of half) and I might use a small round cookie cutter as a mold for the dough to make them a little cleaner-looking.

All in all though, these were definitely worth the effort. Especially for that right out of the oven, melty chocolate buttery cherry moment of heaven.


Monday, February 8, 2010


Banana bread. It seems so easy. So simple and delicious. Such a great, frugal way to not waste the bananas that are just a little too gross to eat. But let me tell you, my friends, banana bread was my nemesis for a long, cruel while. I've made a lot of crappy banana bread in my lifetime. Burned. Uncooked. Falling apart. Dry. Slimy. I'm pretty sure I've discovered every single way banana bread can possibly suck.
Until, after years of failed experimentation. I found this recipe. Its simple, quick, and heavy on the bananas. It can be topped with nuts or chocolate, or can hold it's own with all its banana glory. Which, truth be told, is how I prefer it :) So on Superbowl Sunday morning, cup of coffee in hand, I set off to conquer this closet-challenge of my baking repertoire....

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder

Per usual, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, and vanilla and mix together until smooth.

Mash the bananas with a fork until there are no more large chunks. Add to the wet ingredients in the mixer. Blend together, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

Sift together the dry ingredients. I decided to experiment with some whole wheat flour, in a weak attempt to make all my baking a bit more healthy. I used 1 cup regular flour and .5 cups whole wheat. No reason to go TOO crazy with the healthy stuff.....

Add the dry ingredients slowly to the mixing bowl and blend until smooth.

Spread into a greased bread pan. I like using a pan that's a little wider and more shallow than a standard bread pan because it allows the bread to cook more evenly. Top with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or if you're a plane Jane like me when it comes to your B-Bread, just some granulated sugar. yummm

Bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes. Check around 45 minutes to make sure it isn't charred, just for good measure, since that's happened to me more than once.

Enjoy! I like mine with a cup of coffee, and some baileys if available :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Things to do with Canned Pumpkin

When I moved in with the boyfriend I discovered a small fortune of forgotten canned goods in the pantry. Since apparently canned pumpkin could survive a nuclear holocaust, I decided I would google some recipes to put it to good use...

After sitting around in my "possible recipes' folder for a good month or so, I finally decided to try out this little baby from Paula Deen on the food network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pumpkin-bars-recipe/index.html

I rarely make "bars" of any kind but these were super yummy, so get ready to see more of these "experiments" in the near future. I made them for last weekend's family ski trip, and they were very well received, particularly by the squirrel who ripped apart our trash can and devoured all the leftover frosting. Hope it was good, little guy.

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking p
2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon s

1 teaspoon baking soda

First things first, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. mix until you have a nicely blended, light and fluffy texture, this will make the bars very cake-like and moist.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, then add the dry ingredients into the light fluffiness. Slowly to prevent flour explosions.

Spread the batter into a greased 10x13 baking pan and smooth out the top. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until set. let cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to frost.

For the icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Simply combine all the ingredients, creaming together the cream cheese and butter first. This stuff is DEADLY. You could literally eat it with a spoon.

The recipe told me to cut the bars first and then frost them, which I dutifully obeyed. However, when I make this again I will probably frost the whole thing like a cake, then cut them individually from there. I tried piping the frosting onto the bars, as well as just spreading it on with a knife. The piping was much cleaner, but I got impatient as it was 11:00PM and I was busy watching a movie in front of the fire. These weren't exactly the prettiest desserts I've ever made.

But MAN were they good. Just ask the squirrel. Now I have to figure out what to do with all the canned coconut milk... ideas are welcome ;)