31 Days of Cookies . Day 31. Coconut Rectangles

There are so many ways to make cookies, and one of the less common (unless you're a buy-the-cookie-dough-tube-from-the-dairy-case baker) is a sliced cookie.

This recipe is maybe my favorite sliced cookie. (I think I got this one from Martha Stewart, too. The original recipe is for Ice Cream Sandwiches, but I like the cookies just as they are.)

1 stick (1/2C) butter, room temperature
1/2 C sugar
1/4 t salt
3/4 C all-purpose flour
7 oz (about 2 2/3 C) loosely packed shredded coconut

Beat the butter, sugar and salt with an electric mixer. Mix in the flour, and then the coconut, beating until a dough forms.

Transfer to a piece of waxed paper.

Pat into a rectangular log, about 3 inches wide by 6 inches long.

Wrap in the waxed paper and freeze about 30 minutes until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Slice the log crosswise about 1/4" thick. I have found that using a French Chef knife works great for this task.

Arrange on baking sheets and bake till golden, rotating pan halfway through, for about 20-25 minutes.
Cool completely on the cookie sheet.

Addicting! Enjoy...



31 Days of Cookies . Day 30. Spiders

Since tomorrow is Halloween, I thought it would be fun to end the month with something kinda creepy, but actually yummy.

When we were kids my siblings and I made these chocolate treats we called Spiders. They aren't actually a cookie, but not really a candy either. But so easy you'll have fun making them with your kids.

Just two ingredients... chocolate chips and crunchy chow mein noodles

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler--or in a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. (I don't own a double-boiler, and this is the way I see professionals do it on TV. Totally works!)

Add the chow mein noodles and stir till they are completely coated in chocolate.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a platter or parchment paper.

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to cool completely and harden a bit.

Enjoy, and have a safe Halloween!



31 Days of Cookies . Day 24. Peanut Butter Thumbprints

I used to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and one of my favorite things was the very last page where I could find  "Cookie of the Month." Not all of them became favorites, but today's recipe is certainly one that is a hit. I know there are some who don't love peanut butter and jelly, but for the rest of us All-Americans, it's a winning combination. Here's the recipe:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprints

1 ¼ C flour
½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¾ C smooth peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 lg egg
1 t vanilla
½ C raspberry jam

- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Beat peanut butter and butter with a mixer on medium until smooth.
- Add sugars and beat until pale and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
- Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Scoop level tablespoons of dough and form into balls.

Roll each ball in granulated sugar and put on parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake until cookies are puffy, about 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and make indentations in centers by pressing with the handle of a wooden spoon.

Spoon about ½ teaspoon teaspoon of the jam into each indentation.
Return to oven and bake until edges are golden, 3–5 minutes more.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer for up to 1 week... or eaten immediately!



31 days of cookies . day 26. cookie platters

Cookies are so standard—a couple bites, no fork necessary— yet so versatile... toss a few in a baggie or lay them out on a gorgeous platter.

Delicious cookies really don't need a fabulous presentation to taste good. But really, don't you prefer to arrange them on a fun or festive or unique platter to serve them?

I have a couple go-to platters and trays that I use for cookies. And they are not round. Somehow, cookies sliding around on a round plate doesn't do anything for me.

My favorites are rectangles.

Here are some favorites i picked on etsy. (I'd love any one of these as a gift... not that I need one more.)

1. Leaf Impression Such beautiful ceramic work
2. Square Celedon Square platters are great for cookies. Loving the colors and texture on this one.
3. Rae Dunn Beauty Truth Peace Rae Dunn does gorgeous work. I've seen it in person... beauty!
4. Amber Fused Glass Platter I've only recently heard of fused glass and I'm a huge fan. Want some.
5. Teal and Copper Here's a darling small platter when you only need to serve a few.

Do a little cookie platter shopping this weekend! See you Monday with another recipe.



31 Days of Cookies . Day 18. Birthday Cake Cookie

Last week was Kate's birthday. We had a family celebration on Thursday, and I really wanted to make birthday cookies (since I have to make cookies for this month anyway) instead of birthday cake. But thought that might be a little lame. Kinda tough to put candles into cookies.

But then... what if I used that delicious Blondie recipe I made the other day and put it in a round pan and slice it like a cake. We could even put candles in it. Yay! Solution.

Sophie loves cookies too, and she loves to help, so I enlisted her help to get this done for her mommy's birthday.

Here we go...

2 sticks butter (I just noticed that I was supposed to melt the butter. Maybe that's why my dough was so thick. Oh well, it came out fabulous anyway!)
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla

Beat all that together, then mix and add:

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t kosher salt

Stir in about 1/2 bag chocolate chips (or some mini peanut butter cups)

Spread into a pan. I used an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

Bake about 40-45 minutes. You're supposed to let it cool completely in the pan, but since we wanted it really warm to melt the ice cream a little (BJ's Pizookie-style), I served it warm.

Sophie and I were having so much fun I had Kate take some of the photos. Here's my not-so-great, evening-lighting photo of the cookie cake right out of the oven. (excuses, excuses...)

Such a fun birthday cake-ie.

And Happy Birthday, Kate!



31 Days of Cookies . Day 16. Box Lunch Cookie

Yesterday I spent the day at a beautiful country club. It was benefit event for the Family Services Agency, and I had a table to sell some Rufflewood items to aide in the benefit. Since I would be gone all day, I knew I wouldn't have time to get a blog post done.

Each vendor was given a box lunch. Look what was included in our lunch!

A cookie is always a welcome addition to a box lunch, don't you think?



31 Days of Cookies . Day 10. Specialty's

A great little cafe in the SF Bay Area is Specialty's. They put together some great sandwiches (the Waldorf Chicken Salad is my favorite) and salads and soups. But you really must top off your lunch with one of their fabulous cookies.

When I was working near one of their shops, I signed up for the Warm Cookie Alert.  My office mate was also a cookie fanatic, but we showed great restraint  (most days) when I got emails telling me what type of cookie had just come out of their ovens.

But every now and then, we gave in. One of us would just happen to have to run an errand in the vicinity of Specialty's (or maybe we just planned a late lunch and "needed" to head over that way), and  pick up a couple warm cookies. I mean, if you're going to buy a cookie, make it a great one!

If you're a Specialty's cookie fan, let me know in the comments which is your favorite.

If you're ever near one of their stores, stop in and enjoy a cookie!



31 Days of Cookies . Day 9 . Blondies

Yesterday got a little crazy so I missed getting my post up. But I'm back with a really good one.

Someone asked me the other day what a blondie is. Hmmm... how do you describe it? Sort of like a vanilla brownie with chocolate chips, maybe? I don't make them often, and have a couple recipes that I like, but here's a new one...

I got this from RealSimple.com, and of course I made some changes. The most notable being that I used chocolate chips instead of mini peanut butter cups. I had none in the house, and didn't want to wait to make them. I bet they are delicious!


Their instructions said to butter the pan, then put 2 pieces of buttered parchment in the pan criss-crossed. The recipe has so much butter, I didn't think it was really necessary. And it wasn't. I put one piece of parchment just to make it easier to take out of the pan and cut with a longer knife. But I did butter the sides that didn't have parchment paper, just to be sure...

I expected the dough to be like brownie batter, but it was actually pretty stiff. More like cookie dough, so I had to spread it in the pan.

Don't they look so good just out of the oven? I had a hard time waiting for them to cool to have a taste!

They are yummy! Get the recipe here and enjoy!



31 Days of Cookies . Day 6. A Tray of Cookies

Some craziness (in a fun way) around the City this weekend.

- The Blue Angels will be flying over the Bay on Saturday and Sunday. An amazing show. If you ever have the opportunity, go see them!

- The SF Giants made the playoffs and they will be playing at home at AT&T Park.

- The 49ers have a home game at Candlestick Park.

- The America's Cup sailing race is on the Bay.

- Cal has a home game in Berkeley

- Stanford is playing at home in Palo Alto.

Lots of fun stuff—and today I'm having a yard sale with my neighbors, so no time to bake... but I'll be providing a tray of cookies to munch while we sell.

I'll be taking Sundays off, so enjoy your Saturday and see you on Monday with more cookie goodness.



31 Days of Cookies . Day 5. Cookie Balls

These little nuggets have so many names, and I think every culture has their own version of them. So I'm just calling them cookie balls. I grew up calling them Russian Tea Cakes, I've eaten them as Mexican Wedding Cakes, and the Greeks have their own version (that I can't spell or pronounce... kourambiethes? You try saying that!) that are crescent-shaped.

No matter what you call them, you must include "delicious" in the title. Here's how to make them.

1 C butter (2 sticks)
2 1/4 C sifted flour
1/2 C powdered sugar (plus more for later)
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
3/4 C chopped nuts

Mix the butter, flour, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl.
Add the vanilla and chopped nuts.
The dough will seem very dry and crumbly, so get your hands in there and kind of knead it a little till it starts to come together.
Pinch or scoop off pieces and roll into balls a little smaller than an inch or so.
Place on a cookie sheet. These don't grow much (if at all) so you can fit a lot pretty close together.
Bake 14-17 minutes at 400°
Let cool a bit and roll in powdered sugar.

So easy to just pop in your mouth! But beware... you may have tell-tale powdered sugar down the front of you.



31 Days of Cookies . Day 4. Magic Cookie Bars

Bar cookies are fun to make because you just spread stuff in a pan and bake. No rolling, flattening, scooping. Just cut them in squares after they've cooled. Plus you can bake them all at once rather than in batches.

Today I made Magic Cookie Bars. Several years ago I made these All. The. Time. But it's been awhile and I didn't realize how sketchy my recipe was. (Like... a 3 oz can of coconut? I didn't know coconut ever came in a can.) So I did a little guessing with this one, but it came out fine, so I'll tell you just what I did.

1 cube butter
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk. They come in the same size can and are right next to each other on the grocery store shelf)
1 C chopped nuts
1/2 C shredded coconut
1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a 9x13" pan (or similar)

Roll the graham crackers between the folds of a sheet of waxed paper with a rolling pin. Recognize this cute rolling pin? I'm making these at Kate's while babysitting napping Maggie (and the Blue Angels are practicing for Fleet Week overhead. Thundering loudness! Can't believe she's still asleep!)

Put the crumbs in the butter, stir and press down to make a crust.

Then mix the nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut in a bowl and spread over the crust.
Bake at 350° for a half hour or so. (Again, the sketchy recipe. Gave no baking time, but a half hour seemed about right. I'm really so accurate when I bake... or not.)

We were kind of anxious, so we cut them while they were still a bit hot. Messy, but delicious!



31 days of cookies . day 3. Easy Peanut Butter

Another day, another cookie. Today we're making a recipe I got from an elderly couple who used to live around the corner from us. It is one of the easiest cookies ever, except slicing from a tube or breaking apart squares from the grocer's dairy case.

Isn't this recipe card so cute and vintage? ... but it was her actual card. Darling.

Four ingredients. That's it!

1 can Eagle Brand Milk (or any sweetened condensed milk will do)
3/4 C Peanut Butter
2 C Bisquick (or any Buttermilk Baking Mix. I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 t Vanilla (I used Mexican in honor of my dear husband. Plus, it's really good quality and less expensive at the Mexican Produce Store.)

Just mix the ingredients together and roll them into 1" balls. Then flatten with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern. Dip your fork in sugar to keep it from sticking to the dough.

I obviously had  little trouble holding the camera still with one hand while pressing with the other.

Bake for 6-8 minutes (I go the full 8) in a preheated 350° oven.

I just had to add this hydrangea to the photo. I love the way hydrangeas go from bright sunny blue to a deep purple as fall begins.

Quick, easy, delicious peanut butter cookies. Enjoy!



31 days of cookies . day 2. chocolate chip

Who doesn't like the good old stand-by deliciousness of a chocolate chip cookie? You can find a recipe on the back of any bag of chocolate chips. But around our house, we like them a little flat and chewy with just a hint of crispness around the edges. Our favorite recipe is one we adapted slightly from Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.

2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 C butter (I use either salted or unsalted, depending on what I have on hand. It doesn't seem to make a difference.)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 C packed light-brown sugar
1 t salt
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl whisk the flour and baking soda; set aside
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy
Add salt vanilla and eggs; beat until well mixed
Add flour mixture; mix until combined
Stir in the chocolate chips

Drop heaping Tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. (I line them with parchment paper.)

Bake 8 - 10 minutes, until golden around the edges, but still soft in the center.
Remove from oven and allow to cool and the baking sheet for a couple minutes
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

More cookies to come!



31 Days of Cookies . Day 1. Sesame Thins

For the month of October, I have accepted the 31-day challenge to write on a topic every day for 31 days. My topic? Cookies. You may not get a recipe every day (not that I'm lacking for cookie recipes...), but we'll definitely be talking cookies.

Cookies are the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice). Just hold them it in your hand. No plate, no fork, no spoon. Just a cookie.

One of my favorites growing up was my mom's Sesame Thins.  Perfect for Day 1.

Sesame Thins

1 C (2 sticks) butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 C sifted flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 C sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350° F
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 
Beat in the egg and vanilla. 
Sift flour, salt and soda 
Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture, half at at time, blending well to make a soft dough

Wrap the dough in waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
Roll dough, a teaspoonful at at time, into small balls

Roll balls in sesame seeds to coat lightly

Place on a cookie sheet
Bake 10 minutes
Cool completely

Makes 5 dozen


Be sure to check back each day for more cookie goodness.