Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

The thought of Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies from McCormick & Co. just makes me smile.  These treats are a chocolate lover’s dream with a soft chocolate cookie dough base and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. You can switch out the vanilla with orange, coconut and peppermint extracts for flavor twists. Me? I like them just like this:

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Yield: 24 (2-cookie) servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
6 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
SOURCE: MCCORMICK & CO.

Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies

Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies

Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies (Photo courtesy The Hershey Co.)

Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies (Photo courtesy The Hershey Co.)

A platter of Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies will turn heads at any summer picnic. Blondies and their cousin brownies are timeless, simple pleasures. Easy to make from scratch, most recipes have five common ingredients: some form of chocolate (traditional or white), flour, sugar, butter and eggs. The increments will vary depending on the cook’s desired texture. Old recipes generally call for more flour and baking powder. Modern recipes use less flour and little baking powder to achieve a more fudgelike texture. Whether you like the squares dense and fudgy or compact yet cakey, recipes vary from plain Jane to wildly embellished with nuts, chips or fruits. I love chocolate, but today I want to share this blondie

Festive Fruited White Chip Blondies
Yield: 16 bars

1/2 cup butter
2 cups Hershey’s Premier White Chips (12-ounce package), divided
2 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1. Heat oven to 325F. Grease and flour 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup white chips; remove from heat. Beat eggs in large bowl until foamy. Add sugar; beat until thick and pale yellow in color. Add flour, orange juice and white chip mixture; beat just until combined. Spread one-half of batter, about 1-1/4 cups, in prepared pan.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until edges pull away from side of pan; remove from oven.
4. Stir cranberries, apricots and remaining 1 cup white chips into remaining one-half of batter; spread over top of hot baked mixture. Stir together nuts and brown sugar; sprinkle over top.
5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and pull away from side of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
SOURCE: Hersheys.com

Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts

There is that one point in the holiday rush in which you take a deep breath and realize that life is not a photo shoot. For the home baker food magazines and cooking shows seem to throw down impossible challenges in the context of real life.
Then you get a glimpse of a treasured homemade Santa ornament on the holiday tree. It’s a little rough around the edges and perhaps the jolly guy’s eyes are a little askew, but you wouldn’t trade it for all the glam, limited-edition porcelain Santa Claus figurines in the world. That piece of art shows a budding young artist, a free-thinker blazing through second grade and reminds you of the pure joy when your son or daughter presented it to you.
Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookies for Santa decorated by the wobbly hands of young bakers should be celebrated as well. Your joy comes from watching them grow more steady as cookie decorators year after year. Paired with a nutritious glass of milk, they are just the thing to keep that twinkle in St. Nick’s eye and give him and energy boost to complete his Christmas Eve tasks.
This is one of a dozen cookies I am sharing in the Florida Dairy Farmers “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Not only are the Dairy Farmers offering inspiration for sweet treats, but you can also enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card.

Rolled Christmas Sugar Cookie Cutouts
Yield: About 5 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
2 tablespoons milk

1. For the dough, mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg until well blended. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
2. Heat oven to 375F. Working in batches on a lightly floured work surface, roll out about 1 cup of dough at a time. The dough should be less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut into assorted shapes with cookie cutters. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30-45 minutes.
4. In medium bowl, beat all icing ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Tint with food color if desired. Frost and decorate cookies as desired.

Baking tips

  • To test if baking soda is fresh, add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to a small amount. Fresh baking soda will bubble and fizz.
  • Heat the oven before baking to the temperature specified in the recipe. Be patient because this can take 10 to 15 minutes. For the best results, use an oven thermometer to check if the temperature of your oven is accurately calibrated.
  • Choose cookie cutters formed from sturdy materials so that the shape will last for years. Cutters with sharp edges and open backs will pull away from the dough cleanly

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

Bourbon-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bourbon-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Pour a cold glass of milk, preheat the oven and wait for the intoxicating aroma of this American classic. I bet you can’t wait for them to cool properly.
The Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie formula is a recipe attributed to Ruth Wakefield, who ran the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass. Nestle, which had an agreement with Wakefield to print the recipe on the label of its semisweet chocolate bar, packaged the solid chocolate with a chopper for cutting it into smaller pieces. In 1939, the company introduced the chocolate bits, eliminating the need for a knife.
Familiar cookies such as these are welcome on holiday platters. But I like to give them a special touch by experimenting with extracts and other flavorings. Vanilla is just fine, but we are in the winter special-occasion homestretch so let’s dress things up a little. John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse has created a syrup that is infused with the smooth, oaky flavors of Kentucky bourbon. Straight bourbon with do just fine as well.
At the end of the recipe you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Bourbon-Scented Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon bourbon or bourbon syrup
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

Baking tips

  • If the first batch goes flat on the baking pan, stir in a tablespoon, or so, of flour (for a more cake-like cookie) along with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (for puff up) into the dough.
  • For crispy cookies with a soft center, use 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • To get cookies to look and taste like store bought, use half butter and half solid shortening. Then freeze dough 1 hour before baking. This solidifies the fat, which will spread less while baking. Also, portion on to baking pans with a cookie scoop, this will create consistently round cookies.
12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Lemon Bars

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Bars get a free pass onto the cookie platter during the holidays. Over Thanksgiving I pulled out a platter I purchased in Ravello, Italy. It has a lively lemon pattern inspired by the citrus terraces of Sorrento, where crafting sweet-tart limoncello liqueur is an art. The platter recalled a glorious trip with friends to the Amalfi Coast a couple of years ago. Lemon Bars, I said to myself. Lemon Bars must be part of holiday baking this year.
The mellow Meyer lemon is my lemon of choice from November to March. But regular lemons work just as well in this recipe for lemon bars. The fruit can be scarce in mainstream supermarkets and I readily admit I have been spoiled with landscape harvests from friends and relatives’ trees. Other Florida-grown lemons are likely to be Lisbon-type fruits called Bearss.
For gift-giving use parchment paper between layers of the sticky squares.

Lemon Bars
Yield: About 2 dozen servings.

1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (see note)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. Blend butter, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and nutmeg. Press into the bottom of ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly tanned and edges just begin to turn golden. Remove from oven.
3. As soon as crust is in the oven, mix remaining 1/4 cup flour and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar with whisk. Add eggs, lemon peel and lemon juice; stir with whisk until combined. Let ingredients meld while crust bakes. Mix filling again and pour into warm crust.
4. Bake 20 minutes longer or until center is set and edges are golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.
Recipe note: Substitute a portion of the lemon juice for limoncello liqueur if desired.

Baking tips

  • In recipes, a baking pan refers to a metal pan, and a baking dish refers to a glass or ceramic container.
  • If baking with glass pans, set the temperature 25F lower. Glass holds heat more efficiently than metal.
  • Cookies, bars, breads, cakes and quiches all need time to set or cool after baking.
12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Alfajores

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Alfajores

Alfajores

Alfajores

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Dulce de leche is a luxurious caramel sauce with culinary roots in Argentina. Chile has a similar sauce laced with vanilla called manjar and Mexico has cajeta, which is made from goat’s milk. A French version, confiture de lait (“milk jam”), is comparable to the spreadable forms of dulce de leche.
For the holidays creating Alfajores, decadent cookie sandwiches from shortbread rounds and a thick dollop of dulce de leche, is a Hispanic favorite. Some households roll the cookies in toasted coconut or nuts too. In Heather’s Florida Kitchen, we serve them chilled and plain. Dulce de leche is made by simmering sweetened milk until it turns thick and amber. You can make the dulce de leche a week ahead and store tightly covered in the refrigerator. The cookies can be made in advance as well.
At the end of the recipe you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Alfajores
Yield: About 4 dozen cookies, depending on size of rounds

Dulce de leche:
4 cups milk
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch cinnamon
Cookies:
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks

1. For the dulce de leche, combine all ingredients in large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until mixture boils, 15-20 minutes. Briefly remove from heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture becomes caramel color and thickens enough to see bottom of pan when stirring, 45-60 minutes. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate covered. Makes about 2 cups.
2. For the cookies, mix brandy, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt to evenly distribute ingredients. With a mixer, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add yolks and mix to combine, then add brandy mixture and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
3. Heat oven to 350F. Line baking pans with parchment paper.
4. Slice dough into 1/8-inch rounds. Place on baking pans. Bake 7-10 minutes, or until edges turn golden. Let pans cool on a wire rack.
5. Spread a thick layer of dulce de leche onto half of the cookie. Top with remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe note: If desired, sprinkle dulce de leche with fine sea salt before adding cookie tops.

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Snickerdoodles

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” At first glance, the Snickerdoodle appears to be a dressed-up sugar cookie. But of you compare recipes, there is a difference: Cream of tartar.
Cream of tartar is the magic dust that is a byproduct of wine production. The acidic residue left in wine barrels is the key to stabilizing egg whites, keeping sugar from crystallizing in simple syrups and imparting a soft texture to baked goods.
The unappetizing names chemical names are potassium acid tartrate, potassium hydrogen tartrate, and potassium bitartrate, according to McCormick & Co. But on product labels this tartaric acid is simply cream of tartar.
The Snickerdoodle earned its status as a holiday cookie long ago. Most likely because of the addition of aromatic cinnamon, a key winter spice. The cookie’s origin has been linked to New England and the Pennsylvania Dutch community as well as England. Recipes first surfaced in American cookbooks in the 20th century. During the holidays, you can substitute red or green sugar for the granulated white sugar in the ubiquitous topping. But I prefer to stay classic.
At the end of the recipe you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Yield: About 4 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Blend 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, shortening and eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking pan.
4. Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until edge is lightly browned. Remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Kitchen tips

Check your spices before starting a recipe. You won’t get optimum flavor from a product past its prime.
To maintain good quality spices:

  • Keep containers away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These elements hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Avoid storing over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window.
  • Make sure the measuring spoon is completely dry when you dip it into the bottle. Moisture introduced into the bottle will also result in caking and flavor loss.

To check for freshness:

  • The shelf life for extracts is about 4 years, except vanilla extract, which has an unlimited shelf life.
  • The shelf life of properly stored spices and herbs is approximately 4 years for whole spices, 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-3 years for leafy herbs, depending on the herb.

SOURCE: McCormick & Co.
Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Rosemary  Polvorones

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Rosemary Polvorones

Rosemary Polvorones

Rosemary Polvorones

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Polvorones are rich, short bread-like cinnamon cookies, also known as Mexican Wedding cookies, Russian tea cakes, Snow ball cookies, Italian Butternut, Viennese Sugar ball, Snowball around the globe. This variation on the theme uses a savory herb to add a festive flavor. Be sure to mince the rosemary so that it releases its oils. I have made this dough in advance many times. Simply freeze or refrigerate until ready to bake. At the end of the recipe you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Rosemary Polvorones
Yield: About 3 dozen, depending on the cookie size

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons spiced rum
Pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
Powdered sugar for coating cookies

1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. Combine butter, confectioner’s sugar, rum, salt and cinnamon with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Add flour, rosemary and nuts, mixing on low until just combined.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden. They are ready with the bottoms are golden.
4. While hot from the oven, immediately toss cookies in powdered sugar. Then let cookies cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Toss again in powdered sugar, then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

Baking tips

  • Soft butter blends better. Incorporating hard, chilled butter overworks the batter.
  • Check cookies and bars at the minimum bake time, baking longer if needed.
  • Using a flat, thin metal spatula, remove cookies from the baking sheet and cool as directed.
12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Santa’s No-Bake Thin Mints

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Santa’s No-Bake Thin Mints

Dec17SantasNoBakeThinMints21

Santa’s No Bake Thin Mints

Welcome to the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” Everyone needs a couple no-bake dessert recipes. These quick and easy preparations can be lifesavers when you forget you were supposed to send treats to school, church or the office. Santa’s No-Bake Thin Mints is an easy variation on the Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark Cookies theme – and it’s a keeper. With just four ingredients, the result packs just as much wow factor as a pricey gourmet store find. Melting white chocolate in the microwave is the only “cooking” involved. You can melt the chocolate on the stove top in a double broiler, but this is an instance where the microwave is an expedient tool.

At the end of the recipe you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card.

Santa’s No-Bake Thin Mints
Yield: 24 cookies

1 (12-ounce) package good quality white chocolate morsels, melts or bark
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 (9-ounce) package chocolate wafer cookies
8 candy canes, crushed (or the equivalent of Starlight mints)

1. Pour the white chocolate into a small microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each cycle. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.
2. Dip the top of the wafer cookies in the chocolate to coat and set on a wire rack. Sprinkle with the candy canes and allow the cookies to cool until the chocolate is set.
3. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Let’s play 3 cookie catch up!

12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk: Let’s play 3 cookie catch up!

WalnutCranberryCookies22

Cranberry Walnut Cookies

I’ve been counting down the Florida Dairy Farmers’ “12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk.” With this busy holiday weekend I need to play three cookie catch up quick. Here’s Friday’s (12/16) Today we’re celebrating with Cranberry Walnut Cookies, Saturday’s (12/17) Santa’s No-Bake Thin Mints and today’s (12/18) Rosemary Polvorones. Here’s the first of the three recipes:
The combination of rich walnuts and tart cranberries creates a wonderful profile and both are ingredients associated with the season.
I prefer to mince the dried fruit, which gives the dough flecks of color and avoids pockets of unbalanced flavor. Chopping the dried fruit can be problematic for novice cooks. For expert results, carefully wipe the knife blade with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
Walnuts and other hard shell nuts have been part of holiday traditions for generations. The ruffled flesh is relatively high in tannins, which give walnuts a bitter, dry finish, according to Epicurious.com. It’s this astringency coupled with the richness of the natural oils that make walnuts a good complement to sweeter flavors.
These two recipes were inspired by a store-bought treat from a popular mainstream supermarket chain.  I had experimented with several variations settling on this duo. I like them both. The second recipe produces a chewier, softer cookie. It was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago, and she couldn’t recall the source.
At the end of the recipes you will find another treat: A chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer and a $250 Visa Gift Card. I think Santa is a farmer.

Cranberry Walnut Cookies
Yield: About 3 dozen

3/4 cup butter flavor all-vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup minced dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. With mixer, beat shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until blended and creamy in texture. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Mix dry ingredients with whisk to evenly distribute ingredients. In batches, mix dry ingredients into shortening mixture until smooth. Stir in oats, cranberries and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Walnut Cookies
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine oatmeal, flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk to evenly distribute ingredients.
3. In a saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns golden brown, 5-7 minutes; remove from heat, stir in maple syrup and extract.
4. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Stir into browned butter mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until only a few streaks of flour remain. Fold in nuts and cranberries.
5. Using a small dough scoop, place dough about 1 to 2 inches apart on baking pans. Flatten each of the balls slightly. Bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer to rack to cool. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Baking tips

  • Tools that operate like ice cream scoops are the key to a nice round shapes for cookies. The come in several sizes. In addition, the scoops use dough efficiently and uniformly, keep yields consistent.
  • If cookies are too tough, try substituting pastry flour for the all-purpose flour. Pastry flour has less protein, so it develops less gluten when worked.
  • To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 350F. Arrange whole walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. Cool completely. Chop as needed for recipes.

Enter to Win a KitchenAid Mixer & $250 VISA Gift Card in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies & Milk!