Pistachio Shortbread

A very easy simple shortbread from Bon Appetit. Trader Joe’s sells shelled dry roasted and unsalted pistachios that are perfect for this recipe. You make the whole recipe in the food processor!

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature & cubed
¾ cup shelled pistachios, plus ¼ chopped
⅓ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Preheat oven to 325˚ F and flip the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan upside down and grease with butter. (This allows the bottom to sit flat so it is easier to slice-*note-I was not able to do this and it was fine!). Line bottom with parchment. Grease parchment with butter.

In a food processor, pulse the ¾ cup of whole pistachios and confectioners sugar until finely ground.
Add the butter, vanilla and salt. Pulse until combined. Add flour and pulse until dough forms.
Scrape dough into prepared pan. Lightly flour the back of a measuring cup and press dough into an even layer in bottom of pan.
Freeze until firm, 30 minutes.
Bake until cookie is set and barely golden at edges, 23 to 25 minutes.
Carefully remove hot cookie from springform pan and slice into 12 wedges. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze-optional topping
4 oz. dark chocolate (60%)Line a baking sheet with parchment.
1 teaspoon coconut oil
In a heatproof bowl, microwave chocolate and coconut oil until just melted (about 1 minute on high), stirring until smooth.
Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over part of each cookie and arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and flaky sea salt.
Refrigerate until set, at least 15 minutes and up to 3 days covered.

Chocolate Extremes

A very rich and chocolatey cookie from The NY Times. Perfect for Valentine’s Day! I think it is one of the best cookies.  A perfect combination of chocolates and pecans. I made 33 cookies of my usual size and look forward to sharing them with friends and neighbors.

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona, finely chopped, plus 6 ounces cut into 1/2inch chunks, or any other kind of chocolate, I used milk chocolate chips

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon brewed espresso

2 large eggs, at room temperature

7 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

7 tablespoons sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups coarsely chopped pecans.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, combine the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, butter and espresso. Stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs and sugar and whip until the mixture is light in color and increases substantially in volume, about 10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and fold them into the chocolate mixture until just combined. Fold in the pecans and chocolate chunks. Line two-three cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto the paper, leaving about 2 inches between each. Bake until the cookies are slightly puffed and cracked on the outside but gooey inside, about 10 to 14 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheets.

Nutty Seedy Breakfast Cookies

From the new Pastry Love cookbook by the amazing JoAnne Chang.There are a lot of ingredients that you may need to go to the health food store for but it will be worth it! The batter needs to be chilled at least a half an hour and this is a cookie that you should make every other day as the recipe says the cookies only hold for 2 days. Every recipe I have made from Pastry Love has been excellent and I highly recommend this book if you enjoy baking!

3/4 c. /90 grams walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup /2 sticks/225 grams unsalted butter
1/2 c./170 grams maple syrup
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ripe banana, thoroughly mashed (about 1/2 c./100 grams)
3/4 c./100 grams raw unsalted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 c./40 grams flaked coconut
1/2 c./raw shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 c./50 grams flaxseeds
1/4 c./50 grams millet
1 1/2 c./150 grams rolled oats
1 c./120 grams dried cranberries
2/3 c./100 grams whole wheat flour
1/2 c./100 grams dried cherries
1 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 6-9 minutes, until light golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Melt butter and place it in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in maple syrup and vanilla until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and banana until the mixture is totally homogeneous. The banana needs to be completely mashed so it whisks in smoothly.
In a large bowl, stir together the pipits, coconut, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds and millet. Remove 1/2 c./50 grams of the mixture and set aside for topping the cookies. Add the walnuts, oats, cranberries, flour, cherries, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl and stir well to combine. Make a well in the center and pour in the butter mixture. Stir well to combine. The dough will be more like a soft batter than a stiff cookie dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to allow the grains to absorb the liquid and firm up the batter.
When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or butter it.
Wet your hands and use them to scoop 1/4 c. of the dough from the bowl. Roll into a rough ball and dip the top into the reserved seed mixture and place it seed side up on the baking sheet. Press the cookies down with your hand to flatten. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time.Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and firm when you press the middle. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack.
Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Almond and Cardamom Tea Cake

From the wonderful Samin Nosrat’s book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. A treasure trove of fabulous recipes that you will use forever! I have several other almond cake recipes on my blog but my husband just proclaimed this cake as ‘the best cake I have ever made’!! We have been together for 40 years and I bake a lot, so I am extremely pleased to hear that comment. I made this cake in a 9″ springform because I was afraid a 9″ cake pan would not have been deep enough. It also made it easy to invert the cake with the almonds on top, without having to heat the pan on the burner etc. (see last instructions of recipe). If using a springform pan, I suggest either putting it on a sheet pan to bake or cover the bottom of the pan with foil incase any of the butter topping leaks out!

Almond topping
4 T. butter
3 T. sugar
1 scant cup sliced almonds, (3 oz.)
pinch of flaky sea salt
1 c. (5 1/2 oz.) cake flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt or 1/2 t. fine sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 t. ground cardamom
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. almond paste (9 1/2 oz-**I use Solo Almond Paste that I buy from Amazon-8 oz.)
1 c. (7 oz.) sugar
8 oz. unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set rack in upper third of the oven. Butter and flour a 9″ by 2″ round cake pan, line with parchment.
Make almond topping. In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, cook the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves completely and the butter bubbles and froths. Remove from the heat and stir in the sliced almonds and flaky salt. Pour mixture into the cake pan and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.
For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together to evenly combine and remove any lumps. Set aside.
In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk the eggs, vanilla and cardamom together. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the almond paste to break it up. Add the sugar and process for a minute or two until the mixture is as fine as sand. Add the butter cubes and process until light and fluffy-2 minutes at least. Scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed. With the processor running, add the eggs slowly, mixing well after each addition. (I found it helpful to pour my egg mixture from my measuring cup). When all of the egg mixture is added, transfer mixture to a large bowl. Fold the dry ingredients in in three additions. Avoid overmixing.
Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. The cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan as it’s done. Cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan and then warm the bottom of the pan directly over the stovetop for a few seconds to encourage the cake to unmold.
Serve on its own or with berry or stone fruit compote or whipped cream.
Cake will keep 4 days at room temperature or 2 months in the freezer!

Butterscotch Thumbprint Cookie

From the LA Times-a simple thumbprint cookie with a delicious butterscotch filling. I used rum in the recipe instead of whiskey or brandy but if you are making them to serve to kids I would skip the alcohol. I remember as a child, never liking anything sweet that had liquor in it. Vanilla only! If you have the space to refrigerate or freeze the cookies before baking, do it. I unfortunately have no space so I made the dough a day ahead and scooped the cookies out cold. I used the end of a wooden spoon to make the indentation for the filling. The filling recipe makes a lot and you can make it ahead of baking the cookies (my husband is dying to try it on ice cream). I didn’t think the cookies needed the salt garnish on top of the filling as it was salty enough. The thumbprint cookies are in the lower left of my Christmas cookie platter.

Xmas cookie assortment

1 cup gold sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (10 1/8 ounces; see Baker’s Note)

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Flaky sea salt and gold dragées (optional), to garnish

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the gold sparkling sugar in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and baking powder and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy, about 1 minute (see Baker’s Note). Add the egg and beat until smooth. Add the flour and beat on low speed until just combined.
Using a half-ounce ice cream scoop or 1 tablespoon, portion the dough and roll into balls then coat in the gold sugar. Arrange the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon (half-inch diameter) or your index finger, press each dough ball straight down in the center to create a deep divot. Refrigerate the dough on the baking sheets for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the chilled cookies, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until light golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the filling: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cream, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until bubbly and thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the whiskey, vanilla and kosher salt.
While the filling is still hot, use a quarter-teaspoon to fill the divot in each cookie with the warm butterscotch sauce. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and gold dragées, if you like, while warm, then let cool to set, at least 30 minutes.
Make ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cookies on my blog from 2011-2019

I love to make cookies and bake at least once a week for my volunteer group at Project Angel Heart and to share with neighbors. This is a list of 8 years of cookies and also my top 15. My chiropractor’s wife won her holiday cookie party with my chocolate peppermint cookie!
Dirty Chai cookie
Cookie List from my blog 2011-2019
Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookie
Peanut Butter Miso
Hazelnut Shortbread Bars
Ginger Spice
Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chunk
Rosemary Shortbread
Double Chocolate
Milk chocolate hazelnut
Chocolate Mousse bars
Nanaimo Bars
Chocolate chip
Belgian chocolate brownie cakelets
Raspberry Granola bars
World Peace cookie
Thin and crispy Black Sesame Oatmeal
Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Lemon Bars
Orange and Star Anise Shortbread
Sugar Cookies
Salted Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Pecans Bars
Molasses Cookies
Double Ginger Molasses with Bittersweet Chocolate
Salted Chocolate chunk
Citrus Caramel Blondies
Crisp Toffee Bars
Pistachio Lemon Bars
Chocolate Caramel Walnut Bars
Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip
Spicy Brownie
Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars
Coffee and Cardamom shortbread
Pecan Thumbprint Cookie with Jam
Chocolate Crinkle cookie
Lemon Zest Shortbread
White Chocolate Brownies
English Toffee Shortbread
Caramel Pretzel Bars
Meyer Lemon Raspberry Squares
Blondies with Cherries, Chocolate, Cashews and Pecans
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Cookies
Nutella Shortbread Brownies
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Salted Butter Pecan Shortbread with Rosemary
Compost Cookies from Momofuku
Lavender Shortbread
Mocha Shortbread
Toffee Pecan Cookies
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Carmelita Bars
Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Graham Cracker Chewy Bars
Crunchy Toffee Triangles
Vermont Maple Pecan cookies
Raspberry Crumble Bars
The Best Oatmeal raisin dried cranberry cookies
Ginger Molasses cookies
Binx’s Christmas cookies
Chocolate Peppermint cookies
Tartine’s decadent Brownies
Kiss cookies
Tiny shortbread cookies with chocolate chunks and toffee bits

Top 15 favorite cookies
Peanut Butter Miso
Ginger Spice
Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chunk
Raspberry Granola Bars
Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Salted Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip
Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip
Pecan Thumbprint with Jam
Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
English Toffee Shortbread
Caramel Pretzel Bars
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter cookies
Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies
Kiss Cookies (family favorite)
Tiny Shortbread cookies with chocolate chunks and toffee bits
Chocolate Peppermint

Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookie

From Susan Sprungen of The NY Times-a perfect holiday cookie. The espresso in the dough is what makes it ‘dirty’. I chilled the dough several days in the refrigerator. The ‘earthquake’ effect comes from rolling the dough rounds into sugar and powdered sugar before baking. The cookie is spicy and delicious!
Dirty Chai cookie
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso (not instant espresso) or finely ground coffee
½ cup/115 grams cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons malted milk powder, such as Carnation brand
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
¾ cup/165 grams light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar, for rolling
½ cup/50 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling

Put espresso or coffee in a small metal bowl. Put butter in a small saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, swirling and stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until nutty brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the butter to the bowl with the espresso and stir to combine. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the cookie.
Combine the flour, malted milk powder, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
Combine eggs and light brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and slightly paler, about 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed.
Add the vanilla and the butter mixture, then mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture, then mix again on low until combined. Transfer dough to a resealable glass or plastic container, and chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar into two separate bowls. Use a small cookie scoop to portion dough into heaping tablespoons (about 25 grams each). Roll into smooth balls and drop a few at a time into the bowl of granulated sugar, rolling to coat. Transfer to the bowl with the confectioners’ sugar. Roll gently, coating well, then transfer to a parchment- or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. If you have not made your dough a day ahead you may need to place in freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
Bake until golden underneath, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.

Peanut Butter Miso Cookie

From The NY Times. An interesting combination! I made the dough and let it sit for a few days in my refrigerator. I made the cookies and rolled them in the sugar and they went straight into the oven. The technique of hitting the pan on the counter is interesting to me and my niece Joanie told me that she learned that in a kitchen! I had never heard of it!

1 ¾ cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup/220 grams light brown sugar
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
⅓ cup/80 milliliters white miso paste
¼ cup/60 milliliters chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup/105 grams Demerara sugar, plus more as needed

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add miso and peanut butter to the mixing bowl, and continue to mix at medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and mix a bit more if needed. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until flour mixture is incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in two batches until all of it is incorporated.
Place 1/2 cup Demerara sugar into a small bowl. Working with one piece at a time, scoop out about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough (about 50 grams per cookie), and roll each portion between your hands until it is nice and round. (If the dough is too soft to roll, you can pop the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm the dough up slightly.) Drop the piece of dough into the bowl of Demerara sugar and turn to coat. Transfer each ball to a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them about 3 inches apart. Repeat with all of the dough.
Refrigerate for 2 hours and up to overnight. (Even 15 minutes of refrigerator time will help the dough firm up, and the flavors meld. The longer the dough is refrigerated, the more mellow the flavors will be.)
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, until crisp at the edges and slightly puffed in the middle. They should still be a bit underdone in the center. Pull out the baking sheet and hit it against a counter. Place back into the oven to finish for about 3 to 4 minutes. When cookies are firm at the edges and slightly puffed in the center, pull them out and again hit the baking sheet against the counter. The cookies should appear flat and crinkly at the center.
Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container; they should retain their chewy texture for a few days.

Hazelnut Shortbread Bars

After discovering toasted and skinned hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s, I have a new fondness for the nuts! This recipe came from Sunset magazine. The shortbread is thicker than my usual shortbread but it is the perfect base for the hazelnut topping. A rich dessert!

3 cups raw, skin-on hazelnuts, divided
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
2 cups flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Roast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until light golden, about 18 minutes. Rub the warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove half of skins. Finely chop 1/2 cup nuts in a food processor. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Put chopped nuts, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, the flour, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Blend on low speed with a mixer until well blended.
Grease a 9-in. square baking pan, line with foil (let it hang over edges), then grease foil. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden and firm, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, very roughly chop half of remaining nuts to make 1 cup.
Bring remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, the maple syrup, and the brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup whole hazelnuts and the chopped nuts (2 cups total; you may have leftover nuts). Pour over crust and spread evenly. Bake until set when pan is tilted, about 18 minutes.
Let cool on a rack. Lift foil with cookie to a board. Cut cookie into 16 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally.
Extra-Toasty Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. Keep temperature at 350° throughout recipe. In step 3, bake crust until very deep golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour. In step 4, reduce the baking time to about 15 minutes.
Chocolaty Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. After spreading nut topping on the crust in step 4, scatter 1 cup (5½ oz.) roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate on top, then bake.
Fruity Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. In step 4, stir 1 cup tart or sweet dried cherries or cranberries into nut topping.

Ginger Spice Cookie

From King Arthur Flour,  one of my favorite baking companies. I love their organic flour and all of their baking products. The crystallized (or candied) ginger in the dough adds a great flavor. I can find crystallized ginger at Whole Foods or my local spice shop. As with most cookie doughs, this benefits from chilling overnight. I ordered the sparkling sugar to roll the cookies in before baking from King Arthur. It’s a beautiful sugar with rectangular crystals!

Ginger cookies in sugar
2 1/4 c. King Arthur all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 170g) unsalted butter
1 cup (213g) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup (92g) crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 cup (85g) molasses
sparkling white sugar, for coating

Ginger spice cookies
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg, crystallized ginger, and molasses.

Add the dry ingredients, beating gently until evenly blended.

Cover the bowl and chill the dough for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes; overnight refrigeration is preferable, if you have the time.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.

Shape the dough into 1″ balls, and roll each ball in sparkling sugar.

Place the balls of dough 2″ to 3″ apart on the prepared pans.

Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden and set.

Remove the cookies from oven and cool on pan.