Cookie Season

There are a lot of birthdays and holiday parties around this time of year, and since I’m not a big drinker I’d much rather bring cookies than alcohol for people to consume. I get a little carried away when baking, I like variety, so I usually end up making more than one kind of cookie.

See, I always make things that sound good to me, I’m pretty selfish that way. If I don’t care for raisins, raisins aren’t going into that cookie. Never mind the fact that I don’t actually eat anything I bake, and never mind how much work it takes or how many ingredients I have to stock up on to make multiple desserts, I’m more concerned that everyone will be able to enjoy a cookie the way I’d like to enjoy one. Usually I limit myself to two kinds, and in this case I made a third a couple of days later. (Post to follow because it was too long incorporated into this one!)

Around the same time I was preparing to make cookies for one of the aforementioned birthday parties, I made a promise to some of my friends back east I’d send them cookies so they could sample my wares as it were. I’ve been talking about baking a lot lately and all the new recipes I find each day. It’s just not really fair to bring up how awesome these cookies are to people if they’re not even going to get to taste them, so I sent a little care package out to Beantown. The rest of the cookies came with me.

CHOCOLATE/WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1tsp salt

1 cup butter – I used salted butter, so I did not add the extra tsp of salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 cup Nestle Toll House white chocolate morsels

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy, then mix in vanilla extract and eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, then gradually mix them in with the wet stuff.

Stir in the chips. Well, the directions say to stir them in. I usually find this is the part where I have to get my hands dirty and smush everything together. This also ensures that every cookie will have a smattering of chips, and all the stuff at the bottom won’t be plain dough. I’ve done that before too, and it results in me counting out extra chocolate pieces and putting them into the remainder as I plop each cookie down.

I recommend using parchment paper on your cookie sheet before putting the dough down, otherwise leave it ungreased. I usually aim for a 1.5″ rounded ball of dough. These babies spread, so make sure you leave some space between them – my tray fit 3 down and 5 across. You could probably fit 4 across, but then you have to perform surgery to get them apart.

Bake for 9-11 minutes. I always use the low end of the spectrum to keep them chewier (the brown sugar helps with that too.) Remember – the cookies will continue to bake on the sheets even after you’ve taken them out of the oven. Leave them on the sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

These were adapted from the standard Tollhouse Chocolate Chip. Here is a link to the original recipe.

The second set were a new recipe, and I was really excited to find it. They’re for Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies. If there were any way possible to improve on sugar cookies, I’m pretty sure this is it. As my friend in Boston put it, “We’ve decided that from now on everything should have cream cheese in it.” I’ve made them again since, and they had the same warm reception from people. I highly recommend them.

Chocolate Chip and CC Sugar Cookies 005

CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES – *should be made a day ahead*

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter, softened (I did use unsalted this time)

3 oz cream cheese – I only had an 8oz bar, so I just used slightly less than half of it

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

turbinado sugar for decorating (optional)

Combine the sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Add the vanilla, egg, and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended.

This will be an extremely sticky dough. It needs to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours, so you can leave it in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F

You can use an ungreased cookie sheet, but I recommend parchment paper.

Using a spoon, I  scooped the dough out, rolled it in my hands (freshly washed, of course) into about a 1″ ball. I rolled the top half (sometimes I do the entire thing) into the turbinado sugar. You could also use any kind of decorative sugar, or leave them plain. I just have a big bag of raw cane sugar that I wanted to use since it is plain and I wasn’t making holiday cookies. These can also be frosted afterwards, if you’d like.

Place the cookies about an inch apart on the cookie sheet. (They don’t really spread on the sheet, they just puff up a little when baked.) I used the heel of my hand to flatten them a bit. This will also help the sugar to stick instead of brushing on egg whites. You could also used the greased bottom of a glass, but I found the dough still stuck to the bottom of the glass and it was more of a pain. These don’t have to be flat or even.

Bake them for 7-10 minutes. Again, I used the lower end to keep them softer. Let them cool for a few minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Also, if you’re planning to decorate with frosting, make sure they’re totally cooled.

That recipe was adapted from the Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie recipe on AllRecipes.com.

See how well they get along? Funny enough, these cookies both pretty much started off the same size on the sheet before baking.

Enjoy!

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