How to Judge a Cookie Recipe Based on Ingredients and Ease of Use

The name is the first thing I notice on a new cookie recipe. Descriptive flavors entice me, especially if it is unusual. Flavors like coffee or rosemary interest me more than a sugar cookie. Not to say that you can’t have a lot of fun flavoring up a plain sugar cookie with some interesting spices.

I like to read through the list of ingredients. If the recipe asks for something that I don’t have on hand, I ask myself whether it is worth getting. I do try to see if I can make a substitution. I’ve been known to exchange cottage cheese for sour cream to cut back on the fat. I also like to make spice or extract substitutions. With cookies involving fruit I’ll use one berry for another or use figs instead of dates to avoid running to the store. You can create a lot of happy accidents with well-placed substitutions.

If I don’t understand the ingredient, I immediately dislike the recipe. For example, a recipe calling for caster sugar, could just as easily say very fine sugar or instruct you to grind up some regular sugar in your food processor. I think of these recipes as a bit snobby. (Caster sugar is used because it dissolves faster and more thoroughly.)

On the other hand, a recipe that asks for corn syrup or a box of cake mix or a can of frosting isn’t likely to make the grade either. One reason I bake is to avoid man-made chemicals and overly sweet recipes. If there is a gooey icing involved, then I know they are selling sugar over any real flavor.

Ingredients aren’t the only reason to select a cookie or bar recipe. I also like to read how long it takes to bake. Cookies that take longer than 20 minutes or bars that take longer than 35 minutes usually don’t make the grade. I don’t like using up a lot of electricity for a single recipe, nor do I like to spend a lot of time on just one item.

If the instructions are several pages long, I know I’m in trouble. A cookie most often involves creaming some form of sugar with some form of fat and then adding flour, flavoring and nuts or fruit. I used to avoid cookies that said, “chill overnight.” Now I understand that chilling allows the flavorings to spread throughout the dough and solidify it for better baking results. I often make several recipes at once (since the ingredients are so similar) and bake them the next day. Or I will make larger quantities and freeze some of the batter for later use.

Like with anything, there are exceptions. I make cutout cookies at Christmas and over the years I’ve collected more do-dads for decorating than I’ll ever use up. Decorating takes time and some of that sugary icing, but it’s just once a year and it looks so festive. Finding a good cutout cookie can be challenging.

So the next time you go rummaging around in your cookbook or go browsing online for a good cookie recipe, ask yourself these questions. Do the ingredients include flavors (other than sugar) that you like? Is it worth going to the store to get special ingredients? Are you truly baking from scratch or just adding more ingredients to a cake mix? Are the instructions easy? How long does it need to bake? And does it require any special pans or tools you may not have? The answers will help you focus on flavor, healthier choices and convenience.

Ultimately, it is the taste of the cookie that determines whether the recipe is a keeper. Don’t forget to jot down those that you like, not only for their flavor, but for their ease of use.

Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes – One Recipe with Many Variations

There are so many Christmas cookie recipes around but often so little time to bake during the busy holiday season.

The solution? A great tasting basic cookie recipe that quickly and easily turns into such a variety of easy to make Christmas treats, friends and family will think you poured over all your favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

Let’s start with the basics.

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter (or margarine) at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the flour. Beat with an electric mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With mixer at a low speed, add the flour gradually, beating just until everything is well blended.

Place the mixture on a baking sheet using a tablespoon measure and press down with a spoon to flatten a bit. Or roll our and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350ºF for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.

This basic cookie mixture is also the base for the following cookie recipes (all baked in a preheated oven at 350ºF).

Orange Cookies

(Makes about 32)

Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest to the recipe. Shape into a log that is about 1 1/2″ in diameter and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Slice dough into 1/4″ thick slices. Place on cookie sheet. Cookies can be decorated with candies, rolled in colored sugar, or cut into pretty holiday shapes before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cherry Coconut Chocolate Squares

(Makes about 54 squares)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups flaked coconut

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, well drained and coarsely chopped

Line a 13″x9″ baking pan with foil.

Stir cocoa powder into basic dough mixture. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, almond extract and baking powder until well blended. Stir in coconut and cherries. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top just begins to brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Lift it out on to a cutting board using the foil ends and cut into 1 1/2″ squares. Squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut Pineapple Cookies

(Makes about 36)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1/3 cup pineapple preserves (use raspberry or apricot if you prefer)

Add 1 cup of the flaked coconut to the basic dough mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and roll in the remaining coconut to coat them. Place the balls 1″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie with your fingertip.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie is firm and the coconut is lightly toasted. When cooled, fill each hole in the center of the cookies with the preserves.

You can vary this basic dough to make a wide variety of Christmas cookie recipes. Add other flavorings like maple, ginger or cinnamon. Add chopped dried fruits like apricots or dates. Or bake them plain in holiday shapes and decorate with colored icing.

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Here’s hoping these quick and easy Christmas cookie recipes help keep the pressure off the cook.

Enjoying ‘Different’ Cookies Through Gourmet Cookie Recipes

Chocolate chip cookies, raisin cookies, or wheat-based cookies are perhaps among the most loved of all time. But for anyone who wants to try something different, gourmet cookie recipes might be the one for them.

As the term suggests, gourmet cookie recipes entail doing something different with the usual recipes people make. The term gourmet is mostly used to high quality cuisine or foods that are prepared with exquisite care or with a unique presentation.

For anyone who wants to bake gourmet cookies, one should be more resourceful and creative so as to distinguish them from the more commonly baked treats such as chocolate chip cookies.

Baking can be quite a delightful surprise if one decides to be a little creative and different with what they want to create.

Cookies are always a wonderful treat especially for kids, but for parents who want to bake something else than chocolate chip cookies, there are recipes they can use to give their kids a different kind of treat.

There are times when some would prefer to have a little ‘adventure’ with their treats.

One example of a cookie that most people are not aware of is the banana bread cookies. They are easy to bake and a lot different from the cookies that people are used to eating. Banana bread cookies are simple to bake. By just adding bananas that are peeled and mashed in replacement of chocolate chips or chunks, anyone can already enjoy cookies that actually taste like banana bread.

There are also gourmet cookie recipes that include coconuts as the added ingredient. Coconut macaroon cookies are becoming a favourite treat and they are simple to make.

From coconut to bananas, baking gourmet cookies can help anyone use their imagination to create a wonderful delicious treat.

The best thing about these recipes is that they are available online. Thus, learning how to make gourmet cookies is not a lot easier!

Read About Christmas Cookie Recipes

Christmas is the best time of the year for celebrating, making others happy, feasting and having fun with family and friends. People make goodies to celebrate the festive season. Christmas cookies are the most important of them all. There are such varieties of cookies that people make in their homes to celebrate the Christmas season in a meaningful way.

A whole lot of Christmas cookie recipes are available on the internet today making it so simple for home makers to have access to online recipes instead of looking up old recipe books. With one click of the mouse you can get the cookie recipes of your choice.

Here are a few ideas when planning on cookies this Christmas.

To begin with you can consider making sugar cookies which are the most wanted cookies during Christmas time. They surely will pep up the spirits of your guests and your family too. One precaution is to stick to a regular variety so they would look real attractive when arranged on the platter.

Chocolate cookies are the most attractive cookies for young and old alike. There could be nothing more interesting to enjoy at the Christmas time than some choco-chip or chocolate dipped cookies. This year you can give the peppermint filled choco-chip Christmas cookies for your favorite guests to feast on.

Usually Christmas time reminds one of the famous Christmas fruit cake. However, today most people find this a boring delicacy. For such lovers of fruit and not fruit cake, the fruit cookies will be the right lip smacking treat. Dress up your Santa Claus dressing tray with some delicious and attractive fruit cookies with a mixture of dried can berries, raisins, orange zest and a few nuts of your choice to make up this mouth watering Christmas cookies.

To crown it all, you can make your family members and friends go nuts while choosing the best nut cookie recipes from the internet. No doubt nuts do have a role to play in increasing your cholesterol levels. However, a few of these crunchy chocolate nut cookies would surely be the best Christmas cookies choice for Christmas this year.

Without a doubt your favorite gingerbread cookies are a must to help you digest all the stuff you keep throwing into your mouth over the Christmas season. Making colorful gingerbread shapes is the joy of Christmas for the entire family, especially children who love to be creative in their attempts. Dress them up and they make the best Christmas cookies you could ever have asked for this Christmas time.