Double Butterscotch Cookies

I love fall, the cooler weather makes it the perfect time for baking. Usually, when baking for myself, I lean toward recipes that involve peanut butter or chocolate or a combination of both! Today I turned to a new cookbook I received for my birthday, The Taste of Home Cookbook. I would highly recommend you add this cookbook to your collection. It offers everything from appetizers to desserts and many of the recipes are simple and use ingredients often already found in your kitchen.

After paging through all of the cake, brownie cookies and bar recipes I decided I was in the mood for some cookies. What drew me to this recipe was that these cookies are meant to be slice and bakes. You prep the dough, form into logs, wrap in Seran Wrap and chill until ready to bake. When the craving hits, you just cut off slices of dough and bake as many as you like. How perfect is that for times when you crave only a few cookies or when you have friends stop by unexpectedly and you want to serve up some yummy treats in a snap?

I was very impressed by this recipe and the dough was sooooo yummy.  I prepped the dough as directed but then instead of forming all of the dough into logs as the recipe states, I baked some right away as drop cookies. Let me tell you, as much as I love chocolate and peanut butter, these cookies were great! They have a depth of flavor lacking in most cookies and were so tender (bordering on cakey but not overly so). After cooling they remained tender and the brown sugar/butterscotch flavor became more pronounced and was enhanced with the pieces of pecans and toffee bits.

I formed the remaining dough into logs as directed and chilled. After 5 hours I sliced and baked cookies from the chilled logs of dough. These cookies were great as well. They were not puffy like the first batch and had a nice crisp exterior that you can see in the pictures.

I imagine you could bake thicker slices for a thicker cookie but I followed the directions and sliced mine 1/2 inch thick. Next time I may slice them thicker and see if that changes their texture. If I had to choose between baking the dough right away as drop cookies and forming into logs to slice and bake later I would choose the former. I enjoyed the texture more. Either way, however, these cookies are great. Next time I may form the dough into balls and then chill and freeze until ready to bake to keep the convenience of baking a few at a time and still achieve the texture I enjoyed more!
*I have included pictures of both the drop and the slice and bake cookies.

I highly suggest you make these soon. Bake a few right away and form the rest into logs for later. You  be the judge of which way you prefer to enjoy this winning recipe! I loved them and will be making them time and time again. I may even add mini chocolate chips next time to jazz them up, but honestly, they really don’t need anything more in my opinion!

I rate these cookies (drop method) a 9
I rate these cookies (slice and bake) an 8

Double Butterscotch Cookies
Taste of Home Cookbook (recipe is halved)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening (I used trans-fat free butter flavored Crisco)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 TBS vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup English Toffee bits (like Heath bar bits)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I toasted mine first)

Preheat oven to 350 (if going to bake immediately)
In a large bowl cream the butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the toffee bits and nuts.
*If baking immediately, drop dough by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are set and light brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Shape dough into 2 12 inch rolls Wrap each in Seran wrap. Chill for 4 hours or unitl firm.
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lighlty browned. Cool for 1-2 minutes on sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

*UPDATE: Ok, seriously, this dough tastes FANTASTIC out of the fridge, I am slicing off pieces just to eat! The flavor is amazing after chilling 1 day and the nuts and toffee bits only enhance the deep butterscotch flavor! It tastes a lot like an uncooked blondie!

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

It seems like there are as many variations to chocolate chip cookies as there are stars in the universe. Many bakers pride themselves on being ‘known’ for their chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Most recipes include the basics: butter (or some other fat), sugar, brown sugar, egg, flour and a leavener, what does differ is the ratio of each ingredient used.

Despite all of the recipes to choose from, I rarely make plain chocolate chip cookies and when I do I usually just use the same recipe over and over again (like my mom always says “if it’s not broke, why fix it?”). Well, it may not be ‘broke’ but I was in the mood to bake chocolate chip cookies and wanted to try a new recipe. I was looking for a  recipe a little different from my ‘go-to’ one but didn’t require any fancy ingredients or techniques.
I dug out a cookbook I had bought at a church bakesale last summer and the title of these cookies caught my eye. They are a basic chocolate chip cookie but what makes these cookies different from most is the omission of white sugar. The use of only brown sugar gives these cookies a slightly deeper flavor than most and produces a cookie with a chewy texture.
I don’t know if these will replace my ‘go-to’ recipe (that I am known for) but these were very very good. The dough tasted phenomenal (thanks to that brown sugar and vanilla!). The cookies were soft right out of the oven and needed to cool on the sheet for 5-7 minutes on the baking sheet until I could transfer them (without them falling apart) to a cooling rack to finsh cooling.  The texture of these cookies is chewy but not thick and the brown sugar and vanilla give these cookies a flavor that is a little ‘deeper’ than most. These were easy to make and did not last long around the house (a sign that this recipe is a keeper)

Next time I will add some toasted walnuts or pecans because I think they would pair nicely with the flavor of these cookies.

I rate these cookies an 8

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips (I used half semisweet and half milk chocolate)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix just to blend. Gently fold in chips.
Place dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet using a scooper.
Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) or until cookies are pale brown.
Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack until cooled completly. Serve or store in airtight container.

Coconut Macaroons

I love the flavor of coconut, it really says “summer” to me. With the season half over already, I decided to whip up a cookie that would let coconut be the star of the show. I decided to try a new recipe and was very pleased with the results. Macaroons are quick and easy and require very few ingredients. They make a great dessert when you are looking for something light and non-chocolatey but are sick of fruit. An added bonus is that there is no added fat other than what is in the coconut! You can eat these and feel good about your diet (just don’t eat too many).

I have used this recipe in the past but like I said, I was in the mood to try a new recipe. While I enjoy the version using sweetened condensed milk, I find them to be very moist and almost gummy (but still yummy).

I found this recipe in an old Pillsbury cookbook, tweaked the preparation method a bit and am pleased with the results. The dough is moist but holds its shape well, especially after a brief 30 minute rest in the fridge. The delicate texture of the dough is a product of pulsing the coconut in a food processor before adding to the recipe. This method was not called for in the original recipe but I feel helps produce a cookie with great texture and consistency. The smaller pieces of coconut produce a dough that holds together well and a cookie with a light but solid interior with no long strands of coconut sticking out of them (which can be somewhat difficult to chew). Chilling the dough for 30 mintues before baking also helps the cookies keep their shape during baking as well as softens the coconut for better texture and flavor of the baked cookie.

The exterior of the cookie has a slight cripness from the browned coconut.  However, next time I will bake a tad longer in order for the coconut to brown a bit more. These were not underbaked but another minute or two wouldn’t have hurt. Just watch closely because they can go from light brown to burn pretty fast. The interior of these cookies is flavorful and moist but not overly gooey.

These were very good. Next time I may add some chopped pecans or almonds to the dough or drizzle melted chocolate over some of them after they have finished baking because I love the combination of coconut and chocolate. Heck I may even dip some baked cookies into melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts if I am in a feisty mood. ha ha.

I rate these cookies an 8

Coconut Macaroons
Pillsburry Complete Cookbook (year unknown)

2 large Egg whites
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla or almond extract (I used Almond)
1/3 cup Sugar
2 TBS Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (or more as needed)

Bring eggs to room temperature by letting them sit on the counter for about an hour before separating (this will make it easier to separate).
Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.

In a food processor pulse the coconut 1/2 cup at a time for 15-30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.

Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and starting at low speed, beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. As the foam continues to build, you can turn the speed to medium and then high. Beat until the foam forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add the Vanilla or Almond extract as desired.
Add the sugar, flour and salt and continue to beat until incorporated.
Fold in the coconut just untili combined. Cover bowl tightly and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325.
Spoon the batter onto the pan in rounded mounds. The batter should be of a consistency that a spoonful will stand as a mound 3/4-inch high on the pan.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cookies begin to turn a light brown color.
Immediately remove the cookies and allow to cool on wire racks. Store in cool dry place.

Treasure Cookies

What is a treasure? In my mind it is something surprising and good.

I am not sure how these cookies got there name, it may be because they have a unique texture and surprising ingredients. However they got their name, they deliver a tastey treat that may not be as good as gold, but is GOOD none the less. What makes these cookies unique is that they are egg-free and the base of the dough is made from crushed Graham Crackers and Sweet and Condensed Milk.  Add to that a few baking staples and some coconut, chocolate chips and nuts and you have yourself one heck of a tastey cookie.

These cookies are chewy, very chewy and not cake-like in the least bit. The coconut provides some depth and structure to an otherwise gooey cookie that would easily fall apart while enjoying. The Graham Cracker crumbs can be provide a subtle depth of flavor without being overpowering. While they don’t replace my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, they do satisfy my sweet tooth and are a snap to make. These cookies are sweet, but not overly so in my opinion and offer a welcomed change of pace from the traditional cookie.

I rate these cookies an 8

Treasure Cookies
Source: Allrecipes
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Milk Chocolate)
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a small bowl mix cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder.
In a large mixing bowl, beat condensed milk and margarine until smooth.
Add cracker crumb mixture and blend well. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans.
Drop by rounded teaspoon on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Chocolate Truffle Bars

These bars are so yummy. Imagine a light shortbread like base topped with a rich, dense chocolate truffle layer and then toasted nuts to push these bars over the top. I used toasted pecans this time but I am sure walnuts would be equally as good.

If you do not like nuts, I bet chopped candy bars like Heath or Butterfingers would be good as well. Maybe for the Holidays topping with some crushed peppermint with a hint of peppermint extract in the chocolate truffle layer.

I would suggest storing these in the fridge and taking out just before serving as the chocolatey layer is soft at room temperature, but still so delicious. Because these are rich and decadent, a little goes a long way making them perfect for Bridal and Baby showers when cut into small pieces and served in mini cupcake liners.

I rate these bars an 8

Chocolate Truffle Bars
from Cuisine at Home Cookbook
1 cup flour
6 TBS butter (cold)
3 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup Semisweet Chocolate (6oz)
6 TBS light corn syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS butter
1 TBS cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee granuales
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups toaste nuts, coarsely chopped (walnuts or pecans)
Powdered sugar (Optional for dusting bars before serving)

Preheat oven to 350.
Once preheated, spread nuts onto baking sheet and bake until fragrant, or about 10 minutes, stri every 5 minutes for even toasting. Remove and allow to cool.

Line a 9 inch square pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, butter, brown sugar and salt. Use a pastry blender to mix ingredients until throroughly mixed and dough is dry and sandy.
Sprinkle sandy crust mixture into prepared pan and press to cover evenly. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. (can turn oven off until cooled)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a heavy sauce pan melt the chocolate, corn syrup, sugar, butter, cocoa, espresso powder and salt over medium heat stirring continuously until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add vanilla and stir. Evenly pour truffle mixture over cooled crust.

Sprinkle evenly with the toasted chopped nuts and lightly press nuts into batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or just until set (center may move slightly if shaked). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Chill until ready to serve.
Before serving, cut and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars

Yup, I am at it again with the Peanut Butter. Be honest though, can you ever have too many desserts with Peanut Butter and Chocolate?? I think not.

This recipe comes from my Grandma’s recipe box. Deceivingly these were titled Peanut Butter Bars, but as you can see these look more like a brownie than a Peanut Butter bar! In reality these moist little bars are more like a brownie with a slight Peanut Butter undertone than what I think a Peanut Butter bar to be so I am changing their name to Incognito Bars (because the PB flavor is undercover in these chocolatey-looking bars).

These bars are thick, moist and all in all very good. I will be making these again and I really liked the simplicity of the recipe and how quick they came together.

*Next time I might increase the amount of Peanut Butter by 2 TBS and increase the amount of cocoa powder to 3TBS total(decreasing the amount of flour by 1 TBS so the texture and consistency of the bars remains unchanged). I might also add mini chocoalte chips or those mini Reese’s PB baking cups or chips to the batter before baking.

As you can see, I have several ideas in mind for these little babies in the near future because these bars were very good and worth a try.

I tasted one of these babies while they were warm and found the flavor of both the chocolate and Peanut Butter to be too subtle for my liking. I felt they needed to be “Jazzed” up a bit. So, I whipped up a simple Chocolate/Peanut Butter ‘frosting’ and topped with crumbled a Butterfinger bar.

The Result? MMMMM, finger licking good!

I did notice, however, after cooling the flavor of the bars themselves seemed to deepen a bit and you can taste the chocolate and peanut butter a little more than right out of the oven. Because their flavor seems to deepen after they set a few hours/overnight you may want to try these bars after they have cooled and set without the frosting/candy bar topping to see if you feel they need that extra sweetness.
I found them to be great with the additions by my tooth has been known to be pretty sweet!

I would rate these bars:
Plain and warm out of the oven a 6
Plain the next day a 7
With frosting and candy topping an 8

Incognito Peanut Butter Bars
1/3 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (if desired)
Chopped/Crushed Candy bars (if desired, Butterfinger’s pictured)

Preheat oven to 325.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with PAM.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
In a medium mixing bowl cream the peanut butter, butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture.
Spread batter in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool.
Frost if desired and sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger bar (as pictured) or Chopped Reese’s PB cups.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (Optional)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (creamy)
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 TBS shortening

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir toghter Peanut Butter, chips and shortening until smooth. You can add more Peanut Butter or Chocolate chips depending how much frosting you want and to taste.
Gently Spread Evenly over bars. Sprinkle with crushed/chopped candy if desired.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars

I have been craving a Peanut Butter sweet lately and had a jar to use up. I went searching for a recipe and found this winner on the Jif website! I did top the bars with some chopped Reese’s cups before covering in marshmallows because I had some to use up and really Reese’s PB cups make any dessert a little better! These taste fabulous!

I really really liked the taste and texture of these bars. The base has a nice Peanut Butter flavor and is light in texture. It is topped with a layer of melted Peanut Butter and then covered Marshmallows (and chopped PB cups in my version) and then baked again until the Marshmallows puff and bec0me light brown. Do not overbake or the Marshmallows will be hard and crisp.

My one complaint about these bars is that they are VERY difficult to cut and eat. The marshmallows stick to the knife (even after greasing the knife) when cutting making them not look too pretty. Also, the PB/marshmallow topping does not stay on the base while cutting and eating. The topping stuck to the knife and got pulled off of the crust slightly. This happened again while eating. I do admit, that I did not allow these to cool completely before cutting and serving so that may have been the problem. The seperation of the cookie base and toppings did not affect the taste, these were soooooo good!! For flavor I give them a 9! The chopped Reese’s PB cups really added that extra Peanut Butter flavor I was craving and will continue to add them when making this recipe. I will definately be making them again very soon. Next time I will cool completely to see if that makes a difference in cutting and serving.

I rate these bars an 8 (with the addition of chopped Reese’s cups) even though they were very hard to cut and serve

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars
adapted from Jif
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 salt
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
7-8 individual Reese’s PB cups chopped (more or less to taste)

Heat oven to 350.
Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish with PAM spray.
In a large bowl combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg.
Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture at low speed. Beat until well blended.
Cover. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Press into prepared dish. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.
Do not over-bake. Cool 2 to 3 minutes.
Place peanut butter in microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute. Pour over cookie base. Spread to cover.
Cover Peanut Butter layer with chopped Reese’s PB cups and marshmallows. Return to oven. Bake 5 minutes or until marshmallows are light brown. Do not over-bake.
Loosen from sides of dish with knife. Remove dish to cooling rack.
Cool completely.