Category Archives: Cookies

Sweets for the Sweet: Homemade Hearts

If your house is anything like mine, your floor is littered with hearts and stickers, confetti and sparkles, the uncontainable detritus of the month-long operation that consumes our home at this time every year: making Valentines.  The glue!  The glitter!  The little girls cutting hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts, and the thousands of tiny scraps of paper that float to every corner of the floor!  The never-ending sweeping….

I mostly try to just smile and nod, enjoying the spectacle and vaguely hoping that we’ll manage to reclaim the table in time for dinner each night.  As you probably know, I prefer to make my own messes in the kitchen.

With Valentines Day coming up this week, if you’re like me, you might like to know that you don’t have to settle for crumbly, flavorless conversation hearts with pre-printed messages.  Since I’m rarely organized to make holiday treats before the day itself, I’ll refer you back to a post from last year: Make your own easy DIY conversation hearts and express your true feelings instead!emmycooks Conversation HeartsIf that’s too extreme for you, though, you should probably at least make your Valentine a plate of cookies.Plate of Sugar CookiesHope your homes are full of sweetness this week!


Caraway Cookies

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The season of holiday excess is upon us, and one of my year-round favorite indulgences gets its due at this time of year: the cookie.  Caraway CookiesThese caraway cookies are a fine specimen—not chocolate, I’ll admit, but otherwise quite good.  They have a reliable pedigree, hailing from Maida Heatter’s Cookies, where she describes the “caraway crisp” as a classic Scottish recipe.  The flavor is restrained, the caraway and lemon are fragrant but not overwhelming, and the overall effect is a very nice balance of sweet but not too sweet. Continue reading

Healthy Cookies

Welcome to Emmy Cooks! You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are June, July, and August). If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Yes, I like vegetables, but I also like cookies.  And let me tell you, having three little girls is a good excuse to make cookies.  Lots of cookies. Chocolate Chocolate CookiesWhole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesBittersweet Chocolate Dried Apricot CookiesHazelnut Tea CookiesSavory Oatmeal Cookies with Rosemary and Black PepperButterscotch cookies (go ahead, sandwich them with Nutella).

Those cookies above, as you may notice, do not fall into the health food category.  And that’s ok.  But these cookies below?  They come awfully close.  And they’re lovely.  And I will be making them often.  And I will let my kids eat them for breakfast.

The original recipe comes from Hannah, a fellow Seattleite, chef, and writer of Blue Kale Road.  You should go read her post, a sweet reflection on enjoying the ordinary moments in life, and then you should go to the kitchen and make these cookies.

It’s almost a granola recipe, maple-sweetened with oats and salt and cinnamon.  And since I love my olive-oil granola so much, I figured that olive oil would work perfectly here as well.  And it does.  Did I mention that these cookies are vegan?This batch was filled with fig jam, since I had two open jars in the fridge.  (How does that happen?)  Tomorrow maybe I’ll try raspberry.  Hannah says the cookies freeze nicely, assuming you have any left over for long enough to freeze.  We didn’t. Continue reading

Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks

Road tripping ain’t what it used to be, friends.

Gone are our lazy days of puttering down the coast, of long lunches with spectacular views, of starting and stopping and pitching camp where and when we like.

We’re all business now.  It’s I-5 all the way from Seattle to Northern California, aggressive packing of PB&J fixings so we don’t need long lunches, and hardly noticing the view because of the song and dance I’m doing in the back seat to entertain the girls.

That’s right, we packed the whole family into the minivan (which I like to call the “Man Van” now, both to distance myself from it and to convey to J how sexy it is for him to take the kids to swimming lessons).  And we drove all afternoon and night, and much of the next day, and lived to tell the tale.

Here are some of the things that we did in the car to entertain three children aged 1, 3, and 5: made a list of things to do, read books, sang songs, colored, napped, watched a video, ate snacks, played peek-a-boo, and let the baby pull out an entire package of floss.

Here is something we did not do in the car: eat these chocolately granola treats.  We meant to, we really did.  Hannah said they were road food and I’m inclined to agree, but once I made them we had to taste one and then, wow, another, and they were so crispy and chocolately and then it was the next day and J was asking me to please take a photo of the things already so he could keep eating them and just like that…gone, as fast as the miles roll by when you’re having a good time out there on the road.

Continue reading Crispy Chocolate-Granola Haystacks (click for recipe)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate is woefully under-represented on this blog compared to the role it plays in my life.  I’d say I eat chocolate almost every day, sometimes in moderation and sometimes, frankly, not.  But most of the chocolate I eat these days is in pure, unadulterated bar form.  I don’t bake with it much anymore because, in a perplexing twist of fate, I have a child who doesn’t like chocolate.  She spits out a cookie, face twisted in disgust, if she finds an errant chocolate chip in her mouth.  It’s unfathomable to me, but I work with it and mostly bake without chocolate.

So when I make something chocolate, I like to go all-out. These cookies are all-out. Are you still mulling over what nice thing to do for your dad for Fathers Day?  Skip down to the ingredients list and start baking.

The brookies (brownies+cookies=brookies) recipe on this site is one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes. This is the other.  Those are chewy; these are a decadent, chocolatey, crumbly sable, packed with chunks of chopped bittersweet chocolate.  The recipe comes from French pastry chef Pierre Hermé, Dorie Greenspan published in her book Baking: From My Home to Yours, and I found it via The Splendid Table.  Thank goodness.

The only warning I will offer is this: the dough can be quite crumbly, and if it is too crumbly it will be difficult to slice into cookies.  I have read that using high-quality cocoa powder makes the dough easier to handle, but I used up some decidedly low-quality cocoa powder this time and the cookies came out fine.  If your dough is truly too crumbly to form into logs, stir in a spoonful of milk and the dough will come right together.  You’ll lose a tiny bit of the light, sandy texture, but the cookies will still be delicious. Continue reading Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (click for recipe)

Granola Cookie Bars

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are June, July, and August).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

There’s something about environmentally-unfriendly single-serving packaged snacks that children find irresistible.  Maybe it’s the “all mine” factor, or the satisfying crinkle of those little bags, but it’s hard to compete with a store-bought granola bar for my kids’ affection in the snack category.

These bars did the trick partly because they were fun and hands-on to make, and partly because they’re basically cookies.  Mmm, cookies.  This recipe, from Good to the Grain, was a great starting point–chewy, sweet and oaty–but I expect to do a little experimentation in the future to find a granola bar that comes closer to being a healthy kid snack.  On the other hand, these would make a great hiking snack if you actually needed a sugar boost, and I quite enjoyed them as an afternoon sweet alongside a cup of tea.  We’ll just be calling them “cookies” from now on.

Do you have a granola bar recipe you like?  Do tell.

Continue reading Granola Cookie Bars (click for recipe)

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know how I roll: it’s 10 p.m. and crap, I forgot to make the cookies I promised the PTA I’d bring tomorrow for Teacher Appreciation Week or some such made up holiday.  (Not that I don’t appreciate teachers, because I DO.  Bless them.  Thank you, teachers everywhere.  But do I really have to make cookies at 10 p.m.?) (Don’t answer that.)

This has become my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It’s barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen, a site that I like because I feel confident that Deb cares just as much as I do about food being very, very delicious.  And these cookies fit the bill: they’re classic, chock-full of chocolate, and chewy with a crispy edge.  What more can you ask of a cookie?  Well, I’ll tell you the final way in which they’re perfect: they’re made with melted butter.  If you, like me, never plan ahead to have softened butter waiting on your counter to make cookies, this will mean something to you.  And if it means nothing to you, lucky you, just go ahead and love these cookies for their other charms.

Continue reading Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (click for recipe)

Bittersweet Chocolate and Dried Apricot Cookies

There has long been a sweet little cafe in Seattle called Macrina Bakery. It has a few outposts now, and any of them are fortunate places to find yourself at lunchtime or when you need an afternoon pick-me-up.  Or for breakfast, of course.  Or whenever.  Freshly baked breads, good coffee, great pastries, a handful of equally decadent savory options to round out the offerings.  And lucky for us, they published a cookbook.

I was in search of a unique chocolate chip cookie.  Do yourself a favor and don’t waste time idly Google-ing “unique chocolate chip cookie.”  Sometimes the internet is useful, and sometimes it’s not.  I needed a cookbook.

My cookbook collection is largely geared toward the savory side of life, it turns out.  What are your favorite baking books?  I picked up one of the few I own, Leslie Mackie’s Macrina cookbook, and luckily it came through for me.

Chopped bittersweet chocolate and dried apricots certainly contribute generously to this cookie’s appeal.  But there’s another deeper, darker secret: the mere half teaspoon of finely ground espresso.  It lends a rich, difficult-to-place depth to the cookie’s flavor, firmly cementing its status as THE unique chocolate chip cookie I was looking for.

One friendly tip.  The recipe instructs you to chill the dough before baking it.  That is not the kind of thing I like to do.  If you know me, you know that I do everything at the last minute, which means that when I make cookies they are going straight into the oven because I need them to be ready ten minutes from now.  But in the spirit of experimentation, I also set aside a bit of dough and baked it the next day.  The cookies were even better.  The flavor was a bit more caramelized, deeper.  The original cookies were good.  The chilled batch was amazing.

So hey, what’s your favorite baking book?  I like easy, unfussy, not insanely decadent.  I can certainly recommend the Macrina cookbook (and not just on the strength of this recipe; I’ve made some others, and had still others made for me, all great).  I also love Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, and I am looking forward to pulling that one out more come summertime.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Dried Apricot Cookies: In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. finely ground espresso beans, 10 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate, and 3/4 c. finely diced unsulfured dried apricots.  Cream 8 oz. (2 sticks) butter with 3/4 c. granulated sugar and 3/4 c. light brown sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes.  Add 2 eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla, scraping down the bowl as you go.  Add half of dry ingredients, mix until incorporated, then add other half and repeat.  Refrigerate the dough for one hour (or up to 4 days) if you can possibly wait.  Roll into 1″ balls, flatten slightly, and bake 8-10 minutes on parchment-lined sheets at 350, until the edges are golden brown.

Hazelnut Tea Cookies

Sometimes you just need a little something sweet.  Friends or neighbors stopping by?  Late night and no dessert in the house?  Feels like a milk-and-cookies afternoon?  These cookies have you covered.  They’re quick to make, but try to let them cool for a few minutes after they come out of the oven.  You’ll be rewarded with a crispy edge to contrast with the rich, chewy, nut-studded center.

You can choose to add a bit of chopped bittersweet chocolate to this dough, of course.  And chocolate is always good in chocolate’s own way, but omitting the chocolate really lets the hazelnut flavor shine.  Or–go crazy–make them with another nut, your favorite.  (What IS your favorite?  I have a hard time deciding.)  Whatever you choose, you’ll want to use good nuts here, so taste them before you buy them if possible.  Here in Seattle, I buy Holmquist Orchards Dry Roasted Hazelnuts at my farmers’ market.  They’re also available at the Pike Place Market (every day except Tuesdays) and by mail.

Continue reading Hazelnut Tea Cookies (click for recipe)

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

First off, before we go any further, I want you to know that I do not delude myself into thinking that a sugar-filled, buttery, chocolate-laden cookie becomes health food when I make it with whole wheat flour.  And I will also tell you something else: these cookies are good.  The whole wheat flour gives them a nutty flavor and deep color.  The butter gives them a crispy edge.  And the chocolate chips anchor them firmly in the realm of kid-friendly cookies.

I had never made a bar cookie before tonight but I think they have won my heart.  No rolling, no cutting, no shaping, no scooping, no baking of multiple batches because I had to spread the cookies out on multiple cookie sheets.  This is pure, streamlined cookie production.  The only downside is that the bars in the middle of the pan don’t have a crisp edge, so if you are an edge person you may want to take that into consideration and shape cookies instead.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: In a medium bowl, combine 3 c. whole wheat flour (I used Nash’s soft white whole wheat flour, but I have also used regular whole wheat flour, which comes out tasting a little whole-wheat-ier; I like both), 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.  In a mixer, combine 2 sticks cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces with 1 c. dark brown sugar and 3/4 c. granulated sugar* and mix on low speed for a minute or two to integrate the butter and sugar.  Mix in two eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Mix in a cup and a half of semisweet chocolate chips (or 8 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate, see below).  Butter a large rimmed baking sheet (mine is 12×17) and spread the dough evenly across it.  Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes until the center is just set.  Remove from oven and allow the tray to cool completely, then cut the cookies into bars.

*The original recipe, from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain cookbook, calls for 1 c. granulated sugar and bittersweet instead of semisweet chocolate.  I used what I had, but if you have bittersweet chocolate I think it would be great, and you might choose to use the larger measure of sugar with it.

If you prefer to have a few freshly-baked cookies at a time, I’ve had good luck rolling the dough into balls and freezing them on a tray, then moving them to a freezer bag once they are frozen solid.  Bake them without defrosting; it will take a minute or two longer than usual.