Olive Oil Cookies with Orange and Cinnamon

Previously I have made olive oil cake that turned out great, and when I came across this recipe for olive oil cookies, I knew I wanted to make them.  I found it in another of Mark Bittman’s cookbooks, The Best Recipes in the World.  For me, this made 24 cookies.  I was a little disappointed they didn’t spread, so next time, I would definitely flatten the dough before baking.  But, the orange flavor was subtle, the olive oil was nice, and the cinnamon could have been a tad stronger.  The nice benefit is that this is a recipe that others are likely to have not tasted before, so when taking them to an event, like the bbq I took them to, I was introducing folks to a different taste, as opposed to one of their previous standards.

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Olive Oil Cookies with Orange and Cinnamon

2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 c olive oil
grated zest of 1 orange or lemon, plus some of its juice
1/4 c Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the dry ingredients. Beat the egg with the olive oil, orange zest, and liqueur. Gently stir the liquid mix into the dry one, just until well-combined; if the mixture is stiff, add a little orange juice.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a rack to further cool down. Store in a covered container for up to 3 days; sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

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Lemonade Cookies

Lately, most of the cooking I’ve been doing has been based on recipes I’ve made before, so there hasn’t been a lot of new recipes to share.  However, you are also about to see a series of recipes that are baked goods I have made for staff, friends, and to celebrate people’s accomplishments.  The first of these is from Our Favorite Recipes, ALCW of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Kiester, Minnesota, 1970.  How can I not be excited about a 1970s cookbook from a town near where I grew up?  And, how is spring not full of moments of citrus and lemon flavors?  These lemonade cookies were a great mix of not-overly-sweet and a subtle lemon flavor.  With the addition of frozen lemonade, a great memory of my childhood…

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Lemonade Cookies

1 c butter
2 eggs
1 c sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In mixing bowl, cream together butter and 1 c sugar.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternately with 1/2 c of the lemonade concentrate.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake about 8 minutes; brush lightly with remaining concentrate and sprinkle with sugar.

Six-in-One Oatmeal Cookie

When I was in graduate school in Fort Collins, my colleague and friend Sara and I would find moments to go and spread joy within our department, to our friends and colleagues, and to encourage delighting in the little things.  I took this into my first job after grad school and would, on occasion, walk around or drop off treats for folks.  Over the course of the last ten years, this has continued to evolve, and on my current campus, we often use the phrase “Make people matter.”  It seems a little cheesy sometimes, and in this times of higher education, there certainly is not a budget for this, but when it’s easy to become frustrated by the day-to-day or be reminded of the frustrations, one of my goals for the last eight weeks of the academic year is to do a better job of demonstrating to people that they matter and thank them for doing the parts of their job that are not always fun, but need doing.  And, while it’s nice to do things to acknowledge the work other people are doing because it helps them to know I see their work, it also helps me to maintain a positive attitude when I am intentionally recognizing the hard work of others across the campus.

In order to achieve this goal, I spent some time over spring break mixing up different cookie doughs and freezing cookies so that I could then bake a dozen cookies and bring them to someone when I see them doing something great.  When I came across this six-in-one oatmeal cookie recipe from the Moss Heaven cookbook, I thought it looked worth trying out.  For the batch photographed below, I incorporated a raisin, golden raisin, craisin mix from Trader Joe’s and grated orange peel into the recipe.

Six in One Oatmeal Cookies

Six-in-One Oatmeal Cookie

1 c margarine
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
3 c quick-cooking oatmeal

Variations (mix in one of these):
1 c coconut
1/2 c chopped nuts
1 pkg chocolate chips
1 c cut up gum drops
2 Tbsp grated orange peel
1 c raisins
1 c cut-up dates

Drop from a teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

S’more Chippers

I was looking for a really easy cookie recipe a few weeks ago that I could make without having to put in a lot of effort.  I didn’t really feel like making a mess and measuring out a bunch of ingredients.  Some days I’m just not about the cooking.  I imagine most folks, even professional chefs and bakers, have a day or two when they want to slow down and enjoy life a little differently.  I began flipping through some different cookbooks, looking for an easy recipe and came across this one for s’mores cookies in the Pillsbury Best-Loved Holiday cookbook.  While I’m sure people could be more complicated and use their homemade cookie recipe, in this instance, I went for full-on ease.  I bought the packaged chocolate chip cookie dough and put the cookies together.  They look complicated, but were easy to assemble and easy to eat afterwards!

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S’mores Chippers

1 roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
18 large marshmallows
Chocolate candy wafers

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape cookie dough into 36 (1-inch) balls; on ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.  Bake 9 to 13 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Meanwhile, with kitchen scissors, cut each marshmallow in half crosswise. Immediately place 1 marshmallow half, cut side down, on top of each hot cookie.  Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until marshmallows begin to puff. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. With fingers, gently flatten marshmallows.  Melt candy coating as directed on package. Spoon about 1 teaspoon candy coating over marshmallow on each cookie, swirling with back of spoon to nearly cover marshmallow. Let stand until candy coating is set, about 30 minutes. Store between sheets of waxed paper in tightly covered container.

Gumdrop Cookies

I was speaking with some students the other day for whom I want to make some treats.  They helped me out at the last minute with a problem I was having and I want to say thank you to them.  When I asked about food allergies or concerns, the students said, “Don’t make us cookies.”  This isn’t an unexpected response, necessarily.  Cookies are almost always available in our dining hall.  These cookies, however, came from our family cookbook and are a little different in terms of flavor — Gumdrop Cookies.  And, when I thought about it, why wouldn’t someone love combining gumdrops and cookies into a single item?

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Gumdrop Cookies

2 c gumdrops, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c Crisco
1 tsp milk
2 c oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c coconut

Cream eggs, sugar, shortening.  Add milk and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients.  Add to egg mixture.  Add gumdrops, oatmeal, and coconut.  Dough will be very stiff.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes.  Do not overbake.

Snickers Candy Bar Cookies

When the end of Halloween came, I found myself with a number of fun-size Snicker bars hanging out at my house.  I could eat them myself or bring them into work, but it also seemed like a good chance to use them for baking.  I had friends who were moving, family driving through to see other family members, and an election to celebrate being over.  This recipe seemed like a sure-bet for some post-Halloween deliciousness.  It’s from our family cookbook, and is another one submitted by a cousin of mine.  On election night, it was the perfect slightly labor intensive cookie to put together while watching the results come in.

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Snickers Candy Bar Cookies

1 c margarine or butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
3 c flour
1 c peanut butter
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
60 snicker or milky way miniatures, or 10 regular bars, cut into 1″ pieces, or funsize bars, but into 4 pieces

Mix together all ingredients except candy bars.  For each cookie, shape dough around candy piece, forming a ball.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool and then drizzle with chocolate glaze: Combine 1 c powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.  Add 1 Tbsp milk, then additional milk 1 Tbsp at a time to make drizzling consistency.

Honey, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies

I was walking through a used bookstore and came across a cookbook from the Amana Colonies.  Since the Amanas are a local delight, I had to pick it up.  Oma’s (Grandma’s) Family Secrets: Generations of Amana Cooking was a cookbook I needed in my collection.  There are a number of recipes in here which look delightful, and a few that I’m not sure I need to make (like one for squirrel), but part of what is great about the recipes in this book is that they are all handwritten.

I knew I needed to make these cookies because I had all of the ingredients for them, and I was thinking about the holidays coming up and wanted to try a few more recipes out in preparation for the days.  These were nice because they were super chewy cookies, and they weren’t overly sweet.

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