Homemade Samoas

So, I needed to cook. I had bought the ingredients for this recipe (originally from Just A Taste) last weekend. Okay, that’s not quite true. The ingredients I had bought were to make coconut macaroons (I think I’m craving coconut), but when a package from home had homemade caramels in it, I knew I had to try this recipe. Basically, I think I have a new favorite cookie recipe. I used leftover holiday caramels and they worked perfectly and eliminated the artificial flavor in store-bought caramels. Mine turned out a similar size to doughnuts, but I used makeshift cookie cutters, so at least they were all the same size. I didn’t quite have enough caramel, so I have some leftover shortbread cookies to do something else with. I’ve also been having a blast learning how to take better pictures.  I absolutely love the lighting and backdrop in my brother and his wife’s house. Any time from about 9-2ish has great lighting on their dining room table. I really should take advantage of this for the remaining two months I’m living here…

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Homemade Samoas
Ingredients: 
For Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons half and half (or milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For Topping:
3 cups coconut (shredded, sweetened)
15 ounces caramels (I used leftover homemade ones from Christmas)
3 tablespoons milk (plus additional milk or half and half)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Chocolate (dark was recommended, but whatever you want)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar together. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to creamed mixture in two or three increments. Add milk and vanilla and blend until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and press into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Toast coconut in the oven, stirring literally every 2 minutes at first and then every minute for about 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Dump out on parchment paper to cool and stop cooking process. Transfer to bowl once cooled.

Roll out cold dough to 1/8 inch and cut out doughnut style, I didn’t have my nice cookie cutter set, so I had to find makeshift cookie cutters… Bake for 10 minutes or until pale golden brown. Cool completely. Seriously, this makes a difference because the cookies won’t fall apart.

Melt caramels in a double boiler with half and half and salt until completely melted. Stir all but about 1/4 cup into the coconut and stir.

Spoon cookies with remaining caramel sauce. If caramel sets too much, return to heat and add a little more milk or cream. With a spoon or your fingers (fingers are easier, but stickier), spread the coconut over the caramel and press down until evenly distributed. Let set for about 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate. Dip the bottom of the cookies in the chocolate and place them on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Transfer leftover chocolate into a Ziploc bag and drizzle chocolate over the top of the cookies. Let set until chocolate hardens (haha, this takes FOREVER!!).

 

Milano Cookies

Milano cookies in my opinion are ten times better than Oreos. It is the cookie we eat when we do Robin Hood (picnic-ish) lunches, so they also hold fond memories for me. I’ve been following Food52 on Instagram for a while now and everything they post looks amazing, so when I was looking through the Milano cookie recipes on Pinterest, I knew theirs would be the best recipe. Lisa and I made these together last night and it was super fun. I love trying new recipes. By the way, it is a terrible thing to know these are so incredibly easy…

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Ingredients: 
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces chocolate of choice (we used Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
Flavoring of choice (Orange zest, mint extract, raspberry liqueur)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 baking pans or use silpat or parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add to butter mixture gradually until incorporated. Scoop into a Ziploc bag or a pastry bag. Cut off 1/2 of one corner and pipe fairly flat onto baking sheets about 2 inches long. I found wetting my hand and using that to smooth the mixture as it comes out of the bag makes the cookies neater.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden around the edges and set. Remove from pan and cool completely. Melt chocolate and let set for 10 minutes (now would be the time to add your additional flavorings. Liquid flavorings will make the chocolate seize). Match cookies that have similar shapes and spread slightly cooled chocolate on one side. Sandwich together and let set until chocolate is firm.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our chocolate chip cookie recipe is pretty standard, although though it almost never gets to the baking phase.  Many of us have a weakness for cookie dough, so we make this recipe just for the raw dough. In Culinary, at Sno-Isle Tech, we make cookie dough with pasteurized eggs and sell the dough in portion cups (available at Cash and Carry).

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Ingredients:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 375 °. Lightly grease sheet pans.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well mixed.
Mix dry ingredients together. Add to wet and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop onto prepared sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Simple Vanilla Biscotti

Vanilla is one of my favorite ingredients, so I was very excited to find a simple, tasty vanilla biscotti recipe from Year-Round Giving . I changed the recipe procedure to the cookie method just to make things easier and added the sugar crystals on top really add a fun texture and make these cookies look special. Whenever I make this, it has a habit of disappearing quickly, so I usually double, especially if I’m planning on sending some in care packages.

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Ingredients: 
3 ounces butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
egg wash
large crystal sugar (if wanted)
chocolate, if wanted, for dipping
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a sheet pan.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs.
Combine dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture until dough comes together.
Divide dough in half and form two logs approximately 10″ long and 2 1/2 inches wide when pressed down gently. Brush with egg wash and press on sugar crystals, if wanted.
Bake until light golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool for 10 minutes and then slice into 1/2″ strips. Separate pieces and bake for 8-30 minutes or until dark golden brown and crispy. Cool.

Notes:
Can dip in melted chocolate.
Can add mix ins to dough, chocolate, dried cranberries, zest, spices…

 

Ting-O-Lings

These little unbaked cookies are by far some of our favorite, but only made once a year, at Christmas. There is always “arguments” about the size. I like them small cause they fit better in containers and packages, while some others like them large. 




Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
3 ounces chow mein noodles
1 cup salted peanuts

Directions:
Melt chocolate and butterscotch until smooth.
Stir in noodles and nuts.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on waxed paper.  Smaller is better.  Let set or freeze till hardened.

Gingerbread Biscotti

This biscotti wasn’t sweet enough for my liking, but with a maple glaze over the top, it is delicious.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a sheet pan.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and molasses.
Stir together dry ingredients and orange zest. Add dry ingredient mix to wet ingredients. Add more flour if necessary to form a stiff dough.
Form into two logs 3/4″ thick and about 10-12″ long.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool briefly.
Slice into 3/4″ slices and bake again until crispy.

Cinnamon Swirl Biscotti

This biscotti has a delicious cinnamon flavor and tastes wonderful with tea, milk and coffee!

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup cinnamon chips
large crystal sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a sheet pan. 
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. 
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture. Add in cinnamon chips. 
Form into two even logs and flatten to 3/4″ thick. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. 
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool briefly and slice into 3/4″ slices. 
Bake again till crispy- 5-10 minutes.

Granny’s Noel Shortbread

This is a recipe my sister Anna always makes. They’re fantastic with peppermint tea, just remember, don’t over bake them. 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
Mix cornstarch, powdered sugar and flour together. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until dough forms. Chill 1/2 hour.
Roll to 1/4″ thick on lightly floured board and cut into shapes.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or till lightly browned.

Auntie Lei’s Jam thumbprint Cookies

My sister Ev made these a few days ago and by the time Mom got home from a lunch date, they were demolished. I guess they’re tasty… 

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla, Or almond
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg yolks and vanilla.
Mix flour and salt.  Add to butter mixture.
Roll dough into balls. Put thumbprint in center. Fill with jelly. Make on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Dad’s Cookies

These cookies have a simple, but delicious flavor. The crispy-around-the-edge and chewy center makes these cookies a perfect addition to ice cream or tea.
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Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
Cream sugars, butter, egg and vanilla.
Add oats and coconut.
Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture and blend just until mixed.
Form dough into walnut sized balls.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Press with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.