Cookies and Bars

Christmas Fortune Cookies

by Shawnda on December 16, 2011

in Cookies and Bars,DIY,Holiday Favorites

Homemade Fortune Cookies

These fortune cookies were one of three kinds of cookies that I made for a cookie exchange last week. But instead of a small slip of paper containing a fortune and lottery numbers, we stuffed them with silly quotes from some of my favorite Christmas movies – an idea that I totally swiped from Amy (she made red and green ones!). Things like, You’ll shoot your eye out! and Of all the Charlie Browns in this world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.

Christmas Fortune Cookies

And it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without a quote from Eddie: Merry Christmas! ****ter was full! :)

Or Clark: Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?

Favorite. Christmas. Movie. Ever.

Christmas Fortune Cookies

They ended up being a ton of fun to put together. But it didn’t start out that way. It was slow. Tedious. Painful. And I was kicking myself for choosing homemade fortune cookies over sugar cookies. The first dozen took me 45 minutes. At least. And cost me most of my fingerprints.

You can only do, at most, 4 cookies at a time because you have to handle the cookies while they’re still piping hot (goodbye fingerprints) – they begin to harden really quickly as they cool. And you can’t shape hard cookies. The first two pans had 1 cookie each. Then I moved up to 2.

But then I hit a groove. The second dozen? Took me 15 minutes. I found myself out of batter and totally addicted, ready to do more! I was thinking of upcoming holidays (New Year’s Eve!) and parties (New Year’s Eve!) and showers (please, someone, have a baby!) where custom fortune cookies would be a hit :)

The texture was perfect – the cookies are crunchy and sweet. I used a little more vanilla than the original recipe called for and added almond extract. Because everything tastes better with a little almond extract. Some of the cookies got a dip into some vanilla candy melts and a sprinkling of red, white, and green sprinkles.

The recipe below is a quadruple batch (I needed 2 dozen cookies for the cookie exchange) and then I whipped up another single batch so we’d have a few on hand at home. There’s no way they make it through the weekend.

Fortune Cookies

Make your own fortune cookies for Christmas - or any other holiday - complete with custom fortunes!

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tsp water
  • Baking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk egg whites and extracts together until light and foamy.
  3. Whisk in flour and sugar and mix thoroughly.
  4. The batter should be like a thin pancake batter - when you raise the whisk from the bowl, the batter should disappear as soon as it hits the surface. I had to add 2 tsp water to get it thin enough.
  5. Lightly mist the backside of a baking sheet with baking spray.
  6. Drop a heaping spoonful of batter onto the baking sheet and spread it around evenly into a 4-inch circle (A template made from a sour cream lid and an offset spatula made this job easy).
  7. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  8. Repeat to form 4 rounds of batter.
  9. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  10. Bake 4-6 minutes, just until the edge of the cookie browns 1/4-inch around.
  11. Remove from the oven and work quickly.
  12. Using a spatula, transfer one round to your cutting board, placing it top-side down.
  13. Place the fortune into the center, and fold the cookie in half.
  14. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  15. Pick the cookie up and place the folded edge onto the rim of a mug and gently pull the corners down.
  16. How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
  17. Put the formed fortune cookie into the well of a cupcake pan - this will hold the shape until the cookie cools and hardens completely.
  18. Repeat with each cookie and batter until finished.
  19. Cookies should be stored in airtight container after cooling completely.

Notes

Yields: ~24 cookies

Slightly adapted from AllRecipes

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Did you participate in any cookie exchanges this year? These were one of my contributions to my friend/Realtor/LeapPad Explorer Tablet-finding-ninja Brandi’s cookie exchange this weekend.

I love the format of Brandi’s cookie exchange: 24 people show up with 6-dozen cookies, packaged in groups of 3. Everyone comes home with 24 different packages of cookies – a huge sampler perfect for holiday grazing. And man, was there a ton of good stuff this year – chocolate + mint/peppermint was a popular combination!

A twist on an old favorite, The Emergency Cookies, these rich chocolate chunk cookies are spiked with cool Andes baking chips. I actually made these as Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Cookies last year for the exchange. I might be getting predictable :)

Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I personally think that the cookies are better the next day, a cold slab of minty chocolate. Jason likes them melty, after a 5-second trip through the microwave. But we both think they’re perfectly acceptable as breakfast.

Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Rich, fudgey chocolate chunk cookies spiked with cool Andes mint chunks.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped and divided in half
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Half a 10 oz bag of Andes baking chunks or 1 box Andes mints (4.7 oz), unwrapped and chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  2. Heat half (8 oz) of the chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 25-second increments, stirring in between, until just melted. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved (4-5 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add the melted (and now, mostly cooled) chocolate. Mix until uniform. Add the flour mixture until just combined. Mix in the Andes chips (I reserved a tablespoon of the mints to sprinkle over the cookies when they came out of the oven) and remaining chocolate.
  4. Let dough sit 10 minutes - this will allow the chocolate to cool and prevent the cookies from spreading.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. The dough should be very stiff and will hold the scooped round. If not, let it sit for a while or stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet still soft in centers, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Cool on sheets 10 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  7. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

Yields: 24 cookies

Adapted from The Emergency Cookies

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Texas A&M Onesie Cookies

by Shawnda on November 15, 2011

in Cookies and Bars

Texas A&M Onesie Cookies

We are celebrating today! In just a few weeks, my friend Amy and her husband will be welcoming a new baby girl into their lives. You probably know Amy – she’s the talent behind one of my favorite blogs, Sing For Your Supper.

She roots for the Aggies. But we still get a long :)

If you don’t know Amy, you should go say hi. And then bookmark her Hawaiian Pork Chops with Pineapple-Cilantro Quinoa. Because it’s one of my favorites!

Texas A&M Onesie Cookies

When Kelsey asked if I’d like to participate in a virtual shower for Amy, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Little Aggie onesie cookies decked out in maroon & white royal icing. Perfect for the expectant mom-to-be Aggie fan.

Texas A&M Onesie Cookies

Apple a Day and Sing for Your Supper have the full shower menu so head over and check out all of the super sweet (literally!) goodness that our friends made to celebrate. Congratulations, Amy & Joel! And Amy – I hope you giggle at these as much as I did :)

Texas A&M Onesie Cookies

Buttery, sugary shortbread onesie cookies - perfect for the expectant Aggie mom-to-be.

Ingredients

  • For the cookies:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups (20 oz) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • For the royal icing:
  • 4 Tbsp meringue powder
  • scant 1/2 cup water (I remove 2 tsp from the 1/2 cup)
  • 1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • For decorating:
  • Pastry bag
  • Plastic wrap
  • Coupler
  • Tip 1 - outlining
  • Tip 2 - white details
  • Squeeze bottle for flood icing
  • Burgundy (Americolor gel paste)
  • Black (Americolor gel paste)

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies, cream the butter and powdered sugar together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy. If you start with cold butter like I do, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add the extracts.
  3. Add flour and baking powder, and mix on medium just until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated.
  4. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disc, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out your dough (it's easier for me to divide it into 3 or 4 portions first) to ~1/3 inch thickness.
  6. Cut shapes with a floured cookie cutter, reflouring between each cookie.
  7. Lightly knead the scraps and re-roll until you run out of dough or get the number of cookies that you need. Leftover dough can be refrigerated a week or frozen for several months.
  8. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer while the oven is preheating.
  9. Preheat oven to 350.
  10. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges.
  11. Let cool completely before decorating.
  12. To make the royal icing, place the water and meringue powder in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low 2-3 minutes until foamy.
  13. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until just combined.
  14. Add the corn syrup and extract and then increase the speed to medium-high for ~5 minutes, until your frosting holds a stiff peak.
  15. Cover the bowl with a damp towel when not in use or transfer the icing to an airtight bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the icing to keep it from crusting.
  16. Transfer the icing to a bowl (reserving 1/2 cup of white frosting for the shirt details) and tint it with quite a bit of burgundy gel paste (I probably used 2 tsp) and then mix in black by the 2-3 drops until you're happy with your shade of Aggie Maroon
  17. Outline the cookies with maroon using a pastry bag and the smallest round tip you have (I use a Wilton 1 or 2) and let dry (I wait about 30 minutes before flooding).
  18. Squeeze any excess back into the maroon bowl and add water 1 tsp at a time until the frosting is thin enough that when you pick up your spoon and the icing drizzles back into the bowl, it disappears within 10 seconds.
  19. Transfer this 'flood icing' to a squeeze bottle and squeeze enough frosting to cover about 3/4 of the cookie surface.
  20. Use a toothpick to drag the icing to the edge of the cookie outline.
  21. Let dry (about an hour) and then pipe the details on using the reserved white frosting with a small round tip (I used a Wilton 3).

Notes

Yields: ~3 dozen cookies (depends on size of your cookie cutter)

Cookie recipe from The Pastry Queen, Royal Icing adapted from Bake at 350

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Shortbread Snowflake Cookies Decorated with Royal Icing

Danmy selected this week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge: Pretty in Pink Shortbread Cookies. At the Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredericksburg, the cut-out cookies are sold in the shape of a pig and glazed with a pink icing in memory of the baker’s pet pig.

Aside from the occasional nervous twitch and flashbacks to a work top covered with 1000+ icing-less maple leaf cookies (I swear I couldn’t open my hand for a week after that order) and washing decorating bags and piping tips in the large stainless sink at my parents’ bakery, I actually did have a ton of fun with this week’s challenge. Who doesn’t love decorating snowflake sugar cookies when it’s 75 degrees and humid as heck in November :)

The recipe yields a good, solid sugar-shortbread cookie – a deliciously buttery hybrid between a soft sugar cookie and a sandy shortbread cookie. Most definitely one of the top “not from our bakery” recipes that I’ve tried. A couple of changes:
– I made half the recipe and added 1/2 tsp almond extract and a pinch of salt to the recipe.
– I also rolled the cookies a bit thicker than the suggested 1/4 inch and still got 18 large snowflake cookies. The recipe instructs against rolling the dough scraps out more than twice because it creates a “tough cookie.” I rolled the scraps 5 or 6 times and the cookies from the last batch were just as buttery and tender as the first batch.
– I decorated the cookies with royal icing instead of the recommended powdered sugar glaze. And I decorated them with the “I still don’t know if I’m supposed to eat them or not” dragees.

And I learned a new trick to get out of washing decorating bags! Nearly all of my bags are reusable (read: have to be washed) since I inherited them from the bakery. The “plastic wrap trick” worked fabulously - the inside of the bag was completely clean. All I did was pull out the plastic wrap and wash the tip and coupler.

I’m totally ready to go Christmas shopping now :) And ready to tackle my parents’ recipe (12 lbs of flour, anyone?) for a more manageable at-home version to compare them to these cookies. Check out the other Project Pastry Queen members’ take on the cookies and Danmy will have the full recipe on her site.

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