Monday, December 21, 2009

Jelly Roll Cookies

Note: These are nothing like the more common jelly roll cake. I have never actually had one of those, but I imagine the taste and consistency being completely different.

A few years back my Dad's cousin Ivy flew in from Florida, and taught me how to make her Grandmother's jelly rolls. These are my Dad's favorite cookie, and for good reason. The cookie part is airy and slightly sweet while the filling is gooey enough to balance out any dryness in the dough. Of course, while I was learning the process of making these, I did not take any notes, so I was left only with the ingredient list. I have made these for my dad a few times since then, always having to guess at what the actual process was, and always with a satisfactory outcome, but not exactly the way Dad remembers them. This year however, I had a break through. I made them this past weekend for my Dad's birthday. I wrote down my process, and they turned out better than ever before. They received rave reviews from Dad, Mom, and Tim (Dad's opinion is the only one that I really count on these, because he is the only one out of the group that has tasted the originals). So, from now on I will know the process and not have to feel intimidated every time my Dad asks for these. I think I will be making them a lot more often!

Jelly Roll Cookies:
4 C of flour to start-you will probably need to add more as you work though.
1 C sugar
1 C oil
6 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
large jar of preserves-Dad will only accept strawberry, but I like them with apricot as well.
Golden Raisins
Cinnamon and Sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Mix flour, sugar, oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix thoroughly before adding the next one. You will need to get your hands in there and mix everything up, so roll up your sleeves and wear an apron!
Add more flour very gradually until dough is a workable consistency. It should still be shiny but not too sticky to work with. Be careful not to make it too dry or it will not stay together the way you need it too. I ended up using about 5 cups of flour total.
This is what the dough should look like:

Divide your dough into 4 equal sections. Place one section on a well floured work space or pastry sheet, and set the rest of the dough aside.

Roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. You don't want it to be too thin because you don't want the dough to tear when you roll it up.
Spread a thin layer of jelly and make sure to leave an inch or so around the edges so that it doesn't ooze out when you try to roll it. Top the jelly with golden raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll up to make a long roll, gently pinch the seams together, and transfer to a baking sheet with the seam side down.
Repeat these steps with the 3 remaining pieces of dough. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly browned.
Allow the rolls to cool completely and then cut each into 10 pieces. These are great by themselves, or with a big mug of coffee!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I love to bake bread at all times of the year, but during the winter is when I really have the time to spend on a delicious loaf of bread. Plus, what is better than a warm slice of bread when it is chilly out side? As I was trying to decide what to make as my first loaf of bread this season, I came across a challah recipe in my America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. I have always wanted to make challah, but have also always been intimidated by it. My usual mantra is that delicious food does not have to be beautiful, and that came about because I am clumsy and usually do not end up with perfectly stylized food. I do need some practice on my challah braiding skills, but the flavor was right according to my father and his friend Harvey. Both of them know their challah, so I trust them. I added a little cinnamon and sugar to the glaze to add some sweetness, and that seemed to be a hit with the tasters as well. The bread was a bit denser than I would have liked, but that was probably due to me over-mixing, so I will have to play around with that.

*Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book Pg 113

***Remember to save the leftover egg white for the glaze

1/2 C Warm Water (110 degrees)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
3-3 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 envelope instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

1 Large egg white
2 Tbsp water
cinnamon and sugar for topping

For the dough: Whisk the water, melted butter, eggs, and egg yolk together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 3 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the water mixture and mix until the dough comes together-about 2 minutes.

Increase mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 C flour, 2 Tbsp at a time, until dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand into a smooth, round ball. Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover. let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 2 pieces, one twice the size of the other. Divide each piece into 3 pieces, and roll each piece out into a 16-inch-long rope.

For the glaze and the braid:
Beat egg white and water together in a small bowl.

to braid:
take the ropes from the thicker piece of dough and pinch the ends together. braid these three strands together. Transfer this braid to the baking sheet and repeat the braid with the ropes from the smaller piece. Brush larger loaf with some of the glaze and top with a fair amount of cinnamon and sugar. Place the smaller loaf on top of the larger one, Take both ends of the loaf and tuck them under the larger loaf. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size-dough will barely spring back when lightly pushed with finger-45-75 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Top with the remaining glaze and more cinnamon and sugar. Bake until golden and the center of loaf is at 200 degrees. 30-40 minutes. Rotate the loaf halfway through. Cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire wrack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cookie Swap 2009!

This past Saturday I hosted a cookie swap at my house. We had a lot of fun trying cookies and relaxing. The main idea was to share our favorite cookie recipes before all the Christmas and Hannukah baking begins. This way we can all add some new favorites into our cookie platters this year. We had a wide variety of cookies, and no duplicates! We were able to taste all the different types, and I e-mailed all the recipes to the participants so that they can use them all in the future. I also wanted to share all the recipes with you, and maybe get you excited for your holiday baking this year!

I apologize for the random blue lines at the bottom part of the post...I don't know where they came from, or how to get rid of them
Here 'goes:

Cranberry Cookies

½ C butter

1 C sugar

¾ C brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 C Milk

1 egg

3 C sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

1 C mixed candied fruit, diced (optional)

1 Tbsp grated orange peel

2 ½ C fresh cranberries, coarsley chopped

½ C chopped nuts, optional

2 Tbsp orange juice

Cream butter, sugars and vanilla together. Beat in milk and egg. Sift and mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture and blend well. Add candied fruit,

orange peel, and cranberries.

For each cookie, mound two level tablespoons on well greased cookie sheets. Space about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Yields 3 ½ dozen.

Ricotta Cookies and White Butter Icing


½ Lb butter

1 C sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 lb ricotta cheese

3 eggs

4 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar, then add next three ingredients, adding one egg at a time. Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda and add to butter mixture. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters, or drop by Tablespoons onto cookie

sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. You may ice the cookies if desired.


¼ lb butter

1 box confectioner's sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Mix together with mixer and add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until proper consistency for spreading. If you like, tint small amounts of the icing with pink, green, yellow, etc. food coloring. Ice the cool cookies and dip them in coconut flakes or jimmies.

Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread

For the macerated cherries

1 C dried cherries, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp dry sherry

1 Tbsp finely grated tangerine or orange zest

For the honeyed almonds

½ C honey

1 Oz. (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter

2 C lightly toasted sliced almonds

½ tsp coarse salt

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For the cookie dough

8 Oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)

¾ C confectioner's sugar

2 ¼ C all purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp coarse salt

Prepare macerated cherries: combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Let Stand for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Make the honeyed almonds: cook honey and butter in a medium

sauce-pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and deep amber, about 5 minutes. Add almonds, salt, and vanilla. Stir to coat completely. Remove from heat, and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool, about 30 minutes. Coarsely chop.

Make the dough: Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add macerated cherries, and mix until combined. Add flour and salt, and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Add honeyed almonds, and mix until just combined.

Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment, and form into a 2 ½-by-16-inch rectangular log. Pressing edges with a ruler to shape. Wrap in parchment. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Cut dough into 1/4-inch thick slices, and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Bake until cookies are golden and set, 30-35 minutes. Let cook completely on baking sheets. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Sugar Cookies

1 C unsalted butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla

2 eggs

3 C flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 C sifted confectioner's sugar

2 Tbsp milk

multicolored nonpareils

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla: mix well. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda; mix into sugar mixture until well blended. Chill 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide dough into quarters. Roll out one quarter on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place onto cookie sheet.

Bake for 5-8 minutes or until cookies are barely browned at the edges. Cool on wire rack.

Mix together the confectioner's sugar and milk until smooth. Spread on cookies; sprinkle with nonpareils.

Lime Melt aways

¾ C unsalted butter, room temperature

1 C confectioner's sugar

finely grated zest of 2 limes

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¾ C plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

¼ tsp coarse salt

Put butter and 1/3 C confectioner's sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lime zest , juice, and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 ¼ inches in diameter, pressing ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 C sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers and room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Dulce De Leche Cookies

2 C all-purpose flour, sifted

¼ C confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

½ tsp salt

1 C unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened

1 ½ C dulce de leche, at room temperature

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse until dough comes together into a ball. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour so that you can shape the soft dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and roll the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter cut out the cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bring the dough scraps together and gently press into a ball. Flour your work surface and re-roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut out more rounds.

Bake the cookies until they are golden and firm, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 25 minutes.

Place the dulce de leche in a small bowl and stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Spread about 1 ½ tsp on the dulce de leche on the flat side of a cookie and sandwich with the flat side of another cookie. Place on a platter and dust with powdered sugar.

Ginger Snaps

1 C brown sugar

¾ C shortening

1 egg

¼ C light molasses

2 C flour

2 t baking soda

1 t ginger

1 t cinnamon

¼ t salt

¼ C quick oats

Cream shortening, and sugar. Stir in egg and molasses. Sift together the flour and spices. Blend these, together with the oats, into the creamed mixture. Chill until dough is easy to

handle. Shape into balls and roll in sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass which as been dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.

Butter Pecan Crescents

1 cup butter

6 T confectioners' sugar
1/2 t salt
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 t vanilla
confectioners' sugar for dusting

sift flour once, measure and re sift w/salt. Cream butter until light & fluffy. Add conf. sugar & vanilla, blend well. Work in flour then add nuts. Roll into crescents and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. When cool, dust with conf. sugar.

Peanut Butter Candy Bars

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 lb confectioners' sugar (2 cups)

2 cups peanut butter (can use creamy or chunky)
1/2 lb melted butter

Mix all together and press into a 9 x 13 or 11x13 pan.

1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips* and 1 stick margarine

Can be melted in microwave or in a pan. Stir well, then pour over mixture in pan. Cool in refrigerator. Cut into 1 inch squares.

*May use a 6 oz pkg semi-sweet chips & a 6 oz pkg milk choc. chips.

Tastes like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Butter Cookies

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs

2 C sugar

1 tsp salt

3 C flour

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Combine butter, eggs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; stir with wooden spoon until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine 2 ¼ C of the flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time to make a soft, sticky dough. Sprinkle remaining ¾ cup of the flour on the counter; place dough on the flour. Knead, incorporating more flour just until dough is no longer sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator; cut off a 2-inch piece. Re-wrap remaining dough and return to refrigerator. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-in thickness. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets; bake until edges turn golden brown, 7-8 minutes per batch. Transfer cookies to wire wrack to cool. Repeat with remaining chilled dough.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ½ C granulated sugar

½ C packed brown sugar

1/3 C unsalted butter

1/3 C shortening

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ C all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ C chopped nuts

16 oz chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees

Mix sugar, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill dough or drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes.

Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.

You may roll dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for a month, baking as needed.

Oatmeal Fruit Cookies

½ C butter

½ C oil

1 C sugar

2 Tbsp honey or molasses

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

2 ½ C rolled oats

1 ½ C whole wheat flour

1-1 ½ C diced dried fruit: cherries, blueberries, apricots, raisins, cranberries, currants

1 C grated coconut or nuts (chopped)

1 tsp baking soda

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees

In a a large bowl cream together butter, oil, sugar and honey or molasses until light and fluffy.

Beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine oats, flour, fruit, nuts or coconut, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture in 3 additions, stirring just until thoroughly mixed. Add a little extra flour if mixture seems too wet. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven until just set, 18-20 minutes. Immediately remove from pans and place directly onto clean counter top or table surface. As soon as cookies are cook out into air-tight containers.


1 lb peanut butter

1 lb powdered sugar

2 c. graham crackers

1 tsp. vanilla

1 big bag chocolate chips

Cream the peanut butter and powdered sugar. Then add graham crackers and vanilla and mix. Form into balls, put a toothpick into the center of each one (this makes dipping easier later on) and place on parchment or wax paper in the fridge for at least a day. Once they are good and hard melt the chocolate chips and dip the bottom half of each ball into the chocolate. Place back on wax paper, remove toothpicks and refrigerate until chocolate hardens. Store in fridge.