Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips (Make Ahead and Freeze)

I’ve been sitting on these cookies. I mean, I’ve been sitting on the recipe for these cookies.

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips
I first made these delightful treats nearly two years ago for a bake sale. My singer/actor friends (Mickey and Judy) and I needed to raise money to produce a musical. The show was in August, and it didn’t seem right to post about cinnamon-kissed cookies perfect for Christmastime in the sweltering summer heat.

Rolled Snickerdoodle Dough

So I tucked the recipe away, and made a mental to note to share the recipe closer to the holidays. Then I forgot about them entirely until somewhere around St. Patrick’s Day 2012. Well, shoot, I thought (except I probably thought a stronger word than ‘shoot’). Now I’ll have to wait another eight months before I can post this recipe! How will I sleep at night, knowing all my imaginary internet friends will be again deprived of my snickerdoodles with cinnamon chips?

Snickerdoodle Dough

As it turns out, I slept just fine. Christmas 2012 came and went, and I forgot, once more, to share the recipe. I’m pretty sure that if I file this recipe away again, by the time you get it, you’ll be able to bake the cookies in the glove compartment of your flying car.

Cinnamon Chips

I suppose you could serve them for Valentine’s Day, with some line about your sweet-hot cinnamon love. But that’s your business.

Continue reading for the Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips recipe.

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Top Ten Recipes of 2012

Happy Holidays, imaginary internet friends! And congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Now I’m off to Barnes and Noble to demand a refund for my Mayan wall calendar. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll take another look at the 10 most popular recipes I shared this year.

S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

 

Asparagus Lasagna Slice

Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

 

Baked Churros with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche

 

Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

 

Cookies and Milk

Toffee Cashew Cookies

 

pie crust crackers

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

 

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

And the most popular recipe of 2012:

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s to a delicious (and gooey) new year!

Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies with Fig Jam and Pine Nuts

Dear Martha Stewart,

When I read your recipe for Aunt Maggie’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, I had the highest of hopes. See, I had this jar of fig jam in the fridge, and I wanted to use it for something special. I’d spent countless hours perusing Pinterest boards when I came across your simple recipe for what seemed to be the perfect vehicle for my sweet, figgy spread.

The cookie that came to be in my galley kitchen, however, was nothing like the cookie you (and your commentariat) described.

And yes, I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly follow your recipe to the letter. It’s true—I browned the butter then cooled it in the fridge before creaming it with the sugar.

But still! Should that have affected the recipe to such a dramatic degree that instead of a perfectly round, soft, chewy confection, I ended up with a charmingly misshapen, tender, delicate shortbread? Really, if it weren’t for the sweet-sticky figs and $8 worth of pine nuts, this cookie would be nothing but an over-sized, nutty bite of heaven that melts in your mouth.

It’s lucky for you that this cookie turned out as beautifully as it did. Your reputation was really on the line.

Most humbly,

Bake Up, Little Suzy

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Toffee Cashew Cookies

Cookies and Milk

Every year for as long as I can remember, Mom and I make a trip out to Shakopee to get our nerd on at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. No, we don’t dress up in corsets and snoods, but we thoroughly enjoy the brave souls who do.

As soon as we arrive, we make a careful plan for the day. We see all our favorite acts – the Elizabethan Syngers (yes, with a Y), the Fandazzi Fire-Eaters, and the dulcimer player Mom has a crush on – and in between performances we admire the lovingly-crafted artisan wares. Then we eat tempura veggies and sip cheap red wine from ye olde plastic cups.

At the end of the day, when we’re full and tired and covered in dust, we make a final stop to buy a treat for the road at my very favorite booth, The King’s Nuts (ba-dum ching). As much as I enjoy Pearson’s classic salted nut roll, the pre-made treat languishing in a vending machine for who-knows-how-long simply can’t compete with the King’s fresh, handmade confection – tender nougat dipped in soft caramel and rolled in salty-sweet cashews.

One recent snowy afternoon, I was dreaming of sunny days at Ren Fest, when I was overwhelmed by a craving for the King’s sweet, tender, salty nuts. Why are you snickering?

Cashews

I was considering a run to the gas station for a candy bar, when I remembered the toffee chips and cashews in the pantry. An hour later, I was pulling crispy-chewy cookies from the oven. I folded a warm cookie in half in my hands, and it broke along the  curvy salted borders of the cashews. The sticky toffee bits fought to keep the two halves together.

Craving satisfied; crisis averted.

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Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I spent last summer singing in a musical revue of TV theme songs at the Minnesota Fringe Fest. Every evening leading up to the festival, the company gathered to learn the intricate harmonies of our favorite old television theme songs – Laverne and Shirley, The Great Space Coaster, Charles in Charge, Joanie Loves Chachi, and dozens more.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

I left rehearsal each night awash in sweet nostalgia, remembering all the lost treasures of my youth. Sweet Valley High books, Love’s Baby Soft, Donkey Kong, feather earrings. And in honor of our opening night performance, my own personal retro-fest extended to the kitchen, where I prepared one of my favorite childhood meals: an open-face Spaghetti-O’s sandwich on spongy, white Wonder bread, liberally buttered, and for dessert a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie.

Marshmallow Filling

I sat down to dine on happy memories in the sparkly glow of unicorn stickers, and I was sorely disappointed. The Spaghetti-O’s were nothing but pasta mush and mysterious gristle-balls in metallic-tasting goo. Uh-oh, Spaghetti-O’s, indeed. And the Oatmeal Cream Pie was oddly textured, and so sugary sweet, a single bite made my teeth ache.

Oatmeal Cookies

Sadly, my beloved childhood meal held up over time about as well as Elizabeth Wakefield’s tuxedo shirt.

Oatmeal Cookie Dough

I suppose it wasn’t all that difficult to let go of my fondness for Spaghetti-O’s sandwiches – the things I loved about them are easily duplicated in a big-girl plate of pasta and a sliced baguette. But how could I expect fresh-faced Little Debbie to mature along with my palette? It soon became clear that the only solution was to make oatmeal cream pies from scratch.

The recipe is adapted (just barely) from Natalie’s Killer Cuisine, where Little Debbie grew up and graduated with a master’s degree in tasty treats for the kid inside. The cookie-cakes are quietly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, then filled with creamy marshmallow frosting. The soft, puffy cookies combined with a fairly stiff filling made for a relatively tidy dessert with few squissues.

Continue reading for the Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies recipe

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Blue Umbrella Bake Sale!

Blue Umbrella Productions is hosting an ongoing bake sale to help raise money for our summer musical, Those Were the Days: A Tribute to Television Themes. I’ll be taking and fulfilling orders Girl-Scout style, plus filling any special requests (like scones for Mother’s Day!) until rehearsals begin in June.

I’ve got a menu of both sweet and savory treats to choose from posted below. Email info@blueumbrellaproductions.com to place an order for pick up or delivery. (Twin Cities only. $10 minimum on orders outside of the Banks Building.)

Menu

Popcorn with Truffle Salt
Fresh, fluffy popcorn is tossed with aromatic, savory truffle salt for a luxurious movie-night upgrade.

3 cups: $1.75
6 cups: $3

Lemon Meltaways
These bite-size, buttery lemon shortbread cookies will melt in your mouth.

Half dozen for $2.75
Dozen for $5

Coconut Macaroons
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, light as a cloud, with coconutty goodness all the way through.

Half dozen for $4.25
Dozen for $8

Snickerdoodles with Cinnamon Chips
Classic snickerdoodles (sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar) get an extra boost of flavor with creamy cinnamon chips.

Half dozen for $5.50
Dozen for $10

Homemade “Oreos”
They’re bigger, they’re better, and they’re baked fresh with no mystery ingredients.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Oatmeal Cream Pies
A grown-up version of the classic treat – the cookies are rich and spiced, and the creamy filling is not overly sweet.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Mini Strawberry Hand Pies
Light, flaky butter crust filled with sweet strawberry jam.

Half dozen for $8
Dozen for $15

Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
Crunchy almonds and pecans baked in a party-perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of cayenne.

4 oz. for $4
8 oz. for $7.50
12 oz. for $11
1 lb. for $14.50

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

I think I love parchment paper more than other people do.

I first tried baking with parchment paper a couple years ago after an unfortunate scone episode, and I’ve been a devotee ever since.

If I’m eyeball-deep in baking fresh cookies, and I realize that the only missing ingredient is parchment paper, I will sooner bring production to a halt and drive to the store for a box of parchment paper, than consider browning my beautiful batter on a greased cookie sheet.

See? SEE?!

I only recently discovered 50 kindred spirits who feel as strongly about parchment paper as I do, when I joined the I Love Parchment Paper Facebook group.

Parchment paper is an absolute MUST in baking these tart and sweet, buttery lemon cookies. They’re baked to a delicate, crispy perfection. Then you slide them off the paper with gentle fingers into a softly melting pillow of powdered sugar.

At that point, what you do with them is your business.

Recipe below the fold

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