Just When You Thought You Couldn’t Love Chocolate More – A Recipe for Twin Chocolate Delights Cookies!

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I made the closest men in my life (my boyfriend, my brother, and my dad) very happy this past week.  I didn’t buy them presents.  Or give them money.  No, I baked and gave them cookies.  Double chocolate ones.  6 dozen of them on a total of 5 pans.  And it’s unanimous: out of all the recipes I’ve tried so far, this is their favourite cookie of all-time.  And I have to say, I freakin’ love these cookies myself.  They are heavenly.  But their love of chocolate borders on obsession (or addiction; it’s really almost the same thing in this context) baffles me.  I enjoy chocolate as much as the next person, but their addiction to chocolate is just on a whole other level.  I watch guys eat chocolate and it’s like they’re eating their last meal on earth.  My brother will excitedly chant, “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!” when I simply mention something about chocolate.  And I once scolded my boyfriend for eating too many chocolate chip pancakes because he wouldn’t stop moaning and groaning about how full he was from his chocolate chip pancake breakfast.  “Well why did you eat so many?!  Why didn’t you just stop at two??”  “They were so good…”  Cue deadpan expression.

Anyway, I made brown sugar shortbread over the holidays and while I will admit that they were just so-so (it needed a little finesse and a part 2 experiment), I ate my share while the boys just sniffed at them.  Sigh.  “Fine,” I said.  “I’ll make you guys double chocolate cookies next time.  Sound good?”  Eager bobblehead nods.

Boys.

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You don’t have to be a crazy chocolate addict to love these cookies though.  These epitomize cookie perfection in so many ways: they’re crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, the cracking on the outside is beautiful, the recipe doesn’t require a mixer, you can easily substitute the chocolate chips for other mix-ins such as chopped nuts, candies, or dried fruit, the recipe yields a very generous amount making them a perfect option for parties and cookie swaps, they freeze well, and they’re a cinch to make.  And did I mention they’re double chocolate and fudgy as heck?  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!  I thank another one of my beloved Joanne Fluke Hannah Swensen foodie murder mysteries for this amazing cookie recipe, courtesy of Blueberry Muffin Murder, the 3rd book from the series.

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Recipe for Twin Chocolate Delights (yields approx. 6 dozen/72 medium-sized cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (no need to sift)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (*Deb’s Note: I didn’t use nuts so I simply substituted with extra chocolate chips)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

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Directions

  • Line several baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (The dough needs to chill in the fridge so there’s no preheating of the oven at this point).
  • Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl.  Add the sugar and mix. (*Deb’s Note: I just used a spatula for this step as well as for the rest of the recipe).
  • Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir thoroughly.
  • Mix in the flour, nuts (if you’re using them), and chocolate chips (*Deb’s Note: using the spatula, I gently folded the flour in until it was incorporated.  Then I used my hands (freshly washed hands!) to mix in the chocolate chips.)
  • Cover bowl with a piece of plastic wrap; chill cookie dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes (*Deb’s Note: I added this step because the dough was still a bit too gummy to handle)
  • Place rounded teaspoons of dough on baking sheets, 12 to a standard sheet (*Deb’s Note: I used my hands to grab mounds of dough, gently shaping them into small rounds.  As well, I fit 15 on the first 4 pans and 12 on the last one.)
  • Heat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely (*Deb’s Note: this allows you to use the same pans for multiple rounds of cookies.  Two pans are enough.  I know because that’s what I did – I don’t actually have 5 baking pans at home!  While the first pan is in the oven, you work on shaping the dough balls for the 2nd pan.  When the first pan comes out and the 2nd goes in, there’s enough time between taking the cookies off the pan and re-filling with another batch for the pan to cool down enough to not cause your raw dough to start melting/spreading.)

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*****

Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Blueberry Muffin Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2002.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on pages 136-137.

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There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Cookies – Almond Kisses Cookie Bliss From Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery Series

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Almonds and chocolate and sprinkles, oh my!  I had myself a fun and relaxing cookie baking and decorating party recently (if you consider running back and forth from the oven to the kitchen table with 4 baking sheets of cookies relaxing!), testing out a recipe for Almond Kisses from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder from the Hannah Swensen foodie murder mystery series (if you don’t know about these books and how much I love this series, you need to jump on the bandwagon, PRONTO!).

I love baking out of these books so much and it had been awhile since the last time I tried out something new from one of them so I jumped on the opportunity one Saturday morning to make these amazing almond cookies.  The original recipe uses Hershey’s Kisses for the cookie middles but unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my favourite cookies ‘n cream ones or the yummy milk and white chocolate swirly ones so I settled on testing out the base almond cookie recipe first and jazzing up a batch with chocolate chips mixed in and another batch dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sprinkles!

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I had the best time making these cookies and they turned out perfect!  And oh  my goodness they taste fantastically delicious.  Trust me when I say that they test the most delicious straight out of the oven.  I know you have to let them cool to dip them in chocolate if you want to follow my lead, but I really just mean within the first day or so.  They taste totally fine even a week after (providing you store them in a sealed container of course), but to really get the full food orgasmic effect, you need to taste them soon after they’re baked because they are just divine.  Like marzipan on cloud nine.  This is the type of recipe that can spawn 10 others simply because it’s so simple and versatile.  You can mix in chocolate chips (regular, white, butterscotch, whatever you like!), small sprinkles and shredded coconut, dip them in melted chocolate, or glaze them.  Or just leave them plain.

I was beaming with pride looking at all my cookies when I had the most bizarre and ridiculous exchange with my dad though.  Me: *wearing oven mitts, beaming* “Look how cute these cookies turned out!  They’re sooo good!”  Dad: “You didn’t make enough cookies.”  Me: “What do you mean I didn’t make enough cookies?!  I made 54!  Well, 52.  Dan and I just ate one each.”  Dad: “Yeah, but you’re giving away two dozen.”  Me: “Which leaves us with 28 still!”  Dad: “Exactly.  That’s not enough.”

I was so offended.  Hmph.  IT’S NOT MY FAULT THEY’RE SO YUMMY THEY DISAPPEAR LIKE CRAZY!

Anyway.

This is a must-try recipe, everyone, enjoy!

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Recipe for Almond Kisses (yields approx. 4 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients (*Deb’s Note: the recipe below was actually cut in half.  The original recipe uses double the amounts)

  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (*Deb’s Note: if you prefer to follow the original recipe’s ingredient list, substitute the brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses and increase the granulated sugar to 1 cup.  If you wish to follow the original recipe in its entirety, double the ingredients.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • your choice of add-in should you wish to use it!

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Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F (*Deb’s Note: because my oven runs hot, I lowered mine to 325°F).  
  • Melt butter in microwave in mixing bowl.  Add sugars, vanilla extract and almond extract (Deb’s Note: if you are not using brown sugar and instead using molasses (see note in ingredient list), add the molasses after the adding the almond extract); mix with electric mixer until blended.  Add baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Add ground almonds; mix well.
  • Pour in beaten egg; mix until blended.  Add flour, 1 cup at a time; mix until just blended after each addition.  (Do not over mix).  (*Deb’s Note: If you are using add-ins like chocolate chips, add them after adding and mixing in the flour.  Mix them in gently with your hands so you’re not overworking the dough.)
  • Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough into small, walnut-sized balls.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 15 dough balls to a sheet.  Flatten dough balls slightly using the palm of your hand.  Use the tines on a fork to make an indentation if you wish to jazz up the tops.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes (Deb’s Note: I baked mine for 8 minutes).  Cool on baking sheets for several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Proceed to stuff your face with delicious fresh baked cookies.  Go the extra step and decorate using melted chocolate and sprinkles – like me!  Rinse and repeat.

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*****

Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2003.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 55.

The Perfect Milk-and-Cookie Cookie! Rich, Chewy, Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies With Sprinkles!

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The Cookie Monster (aka. ME!) just can’t get enough of cookies and cookie baking.  All I want to do is bake cookies all the live long day.  I feel all sorts of happy envisioning myself in a cheery kitchen whipping up cookie dough with music on in the background and the fresh aroma of cookies coming from the oven.  I rifle through my Joanne Fluke foodie murder mysteries checking off all the ones I want to eventually try (this one comes from Plum Pudding Murder!), I just bought a brand new, super thick cookie cookbook the other day, and I’m “crazy” enough to bake through an oncoming thunderstorm.  I put “crazy” in quotations because only my mother thought I was off my rocker mixing up dough with thunder clapping in the distance.  I, for one, did not.  She took a gasket, told me I was out of my mind, and asked me what I was going to do when the power went out.  I scoffed and continued washing dishes and mixing all by my lonesome because my intuitive sense told me the rain was going to be nothing.  And I am proud to say that the power wasn’t even close to going out (the rain lasted all of 2 minutes) and I ended up with two batches of fresh chocolate oatmeal cookies.

These chocolate oatmeal cookies turned out great!  I was so happy with how these turned out.  I couldn’t believe how great the crackling on the cookies turned out (I had no idea there was supposed to be crackling in the first place so it was a pleasant surprise) and the oatmeal was so apparent on and inside the cookies.  Anyone looking at these cookies would have no doubt in their mind that they’re chocolate oatmeal ones.  The exterior has a lovely crunch to it and the insides are moist, chewy, and chocolatey rich! 

If you’re looking for a great milk-and-cookie type of cookie, this cookie is your ticket.  Milk complements the richness of the chocolate really well and sprinkles taste great with these too!  The recipe is basic enough that you can integrate your own add-on decorations in the cookie dough as you’re rolling them into balls.  I didn’t think of this until after I baked them though, so I simply stuck my thumb in the middle of the cookies to create a little crater for the sprinkles soon after the came out of the oven.

Recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (yields 3 dozen chewy, chocolatey cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick, 4 oz., 1/4 pound)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 one-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate (*Deb’s note: I didn’t have any squares of chocolate so I used unsweetened chocolate chips instead.  I used around 1/3 cup of chocolate chips)
  • 1 beaten egg (just whip it up with a fork)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry oatmeal (quick cooking oats or old-fashioned will do)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F, rack in the middle position.
  • In a large bowl, mix the softened butter and the sugar until it’s fluffy.
  • Unwrap the squares of unsweetened chocolate and melt them in the microwave (*Deb’s note: I used unsweetened chocolate chips, but I still melted them the same way.  I blast them for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each blast until it’s smooth and all the chocolate is completely melted).  Add the melted chocolate to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Feel the bowl.  If the bowl is cool enough, add the beaten egg, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Mix in the baking powder and the salt.  Then add the flour, mixing it in thoroughly.  Add the oatmeal and stir until the mixture is completely blended (*Deb’s note: it’s important not to use the electric mixer when you incorporate the oatmeal because the mixture gets thick and stiff and will gummy up the mixing blades/beaters!).
  • Drop my teaspoonfuls onto greased cookies, 12 to a standard-sized cookie sheet (*Deb’s note: I used parchment paper and instead of using the drop method, I rolled the dough into balls with my hands.  It can get a bit messy with the chocolate, but it’s fun nevertheless.  I also fit 15 on each of my cookie sheets).
  • Bake at 325°F for 13 to 15 minutes or until slightly brown (*Deb’s note: my oven runs hot so I only baked mine for 11 minutes, and I left them in the oven for another minute after switching the oven off).  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Plum Pudding Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2009.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 213.

A Tropical Party Kind of Cookie – Chewy Coconut Oatmeal Pineapple Delights

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I’m starting to see a trend with the cookies I’ve been baking – many of them have oatmeal in them!  This is highly amusing to me considering that I’m not the biggest fan of cooked oatmeal.  My parents love it but it’s one of those foods that has never really grown on me.  I’ll eat it, but I won’t love it.  So I don’t know if I’ve been receiving subliminal messages somewhere or if I naturally gravitate towards oatmeal as an ingredient in cookies, but I love the texture it creates in cookies, both chewy ones and crunchy ones.  These, my lovelies, are Pineapple Delights from Joanne Fluke’s Key Lime Pie Murder!  Chewy cookies with dried pineapple, shredded coconut (or coconut flakes), and oatmeal!  I mentioned these in my last Cookie Jar post when I blogged about the delicious recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies and between the two, I did enjoy enjoy the banana chocolate chip ones more initially. 

However, I soon realized what the problem was: the pineapple delights get better with age.  I’ve been noticing that with several different kinds of food over the past little while and the concept feels so foreign to me!  Since when do cookies (and any other food) not taste great fresh out of the oven?!  It’s true though, these pineapple delights are better enjoyed the day after.  And the day after that.  And so on and so forth.  My family and I were enjoying these cookies at their yummiest a WEEK after we baked them!  I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.  So don’t touch that cookie jar until the next day.  I know it’ll be incredibly hard. Wrap your hands with something if you need to.  It’s worth the wait.

Recipe for Pineapple Delights (yields about 4 dozen medium sized cookies when recipe is halved)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter, melted (4 sticks, 1 pound)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pineapple extract (or you could use vanilla extract)
  • 4 cups flour (*Deb’s note: I used regular all-purpose flour)
  • 2⅟₂cups chopped sweetened dried pineapple (measure after chopping; you can substitute the dried pineapple with any other dried fruit to change up the recipe!)
  • 3 cups rolled oats (uncooked oatmeal)
  • ⅟₂cup chopped coconut flakes (*Deb’s note: I used shredded coconut)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, rack in the middle position.
  • Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Add the sugars, mix until well incorporated, and let the bowl cool a bit. 
  • Add the beaten eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pineapple extract.  (*Deb’s note: Since I didn’t have pineapple extract, I used vanilla extract.  If you’re doing the same, add a little more chopped dried pineapple to the mixture.  I think pineapple juice would enhance the flavour as well, but you would need to add a bit more flour or oatmeal to thicken the dough up).
  • Mix in the flour.  Then add the chopped pineapple, coconut, and rolled oats, mixing them in thoroughly.
  • Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a sheet.  (*Deb’s note: I rolled my dough into balls using my hands.  The cookies turned out larger than I expected them to, so if you use the rolling method, make them a bit smaller because the dough spreads when they’re baking).
  • Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes.  (*Deb’s note: if you want them chewier, bake them for 12 minutes.  If your oven runs a bit hot like mine, do them for 11 minutes).  Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

These cookies freeze well if you roll them in foil and put them in a freezer bag.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Key Lime Pie Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2007.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 32.

Baking is No Monkey Business – Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Happy Monday everyone!  It’s the start of another busy week, so I’m kicking it off with some good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies.  But they’re not just any ordinary chocolate chip cookies.  Oh no, they’re BANANA chocolate chip cookies!  I don’t know about everybody else, but there are always bananas in our kitchen.  For those of you who know me well or who’ve been following the blog, you know that I have pretty bad allergies to a number of different fruits.  I’m allergic to the raw fruit flesh of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, honeydew melon, and pineapples.  And those are the allergies that I’m currently aware of – there could be others lurking around! 

Thus, bananas are a staple in our household because it’s one of the few fruits that 1) I can eat without swelling up like a blowfish, 2) are pretty much available in good condition all year-round, and 3) won’t make baked goods and foods like pancakes soggy.  Bananas are one of my favourite thickening agents, not to mention it soothes an achy stomach.  So in the words of Ralph Wiggum, “Go banana!” 😀

I baked two sets of cookies over the weekend for my grandpa’s birthday (chosen from my foodie murder mysteries by Joanne Fluke) and these were definitely the winner between the two kinds I made.  I chose the Pineapple Delights recipe from Key Lime Pie Murder and Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies from Plum Pudding Murder.  These are SO INCREDIBLY SOFT.  Like melt-in-your-mouth soft.  Handle with care soft.  You get the idea.  I’m pretty sure the softness of the cookies is due to the combination of butter and icing sugar.  The resulting batter is practically like whipped cream, so airy and fluffy.  These cookies are thin, delicate, flavourful cookies and I love them.

I had to tweak the oven temperature after the first batch came out though because the edges were too charred for my liking (I’m picky, what can I say?) and they were teetering on the edge of burned.  Had I not taken the first batch out when I did, they definitely would have been crispy to say the least!  So what you see in the photos is the second batch, which I adjusted by 50 degress fahrenheit.  Perfect cookies!

Recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (yields 3 dozen large or 5 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients

  • 2  sticks (1 cup, ⅟₂a pound) softened butter
  • 1 and ⅟₂cups powdered (confectioners) sugar (only sift it if there are lumps)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅟₄teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour (pack it down when you measure it)
  • 6 oz. package (or 1 cup) semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • ⅟₂teaspoon lemon extract

Directions:

  • Beat the softened butter and the powdered sugar together until they look light and creamy.  Add the half teaspoon of lemon extract and mix it in.
  • Peel the banana and break it into chunks.  Mix them in until they’re thoroughly mashed and the powdered sugar and butter mixture is smooth again.
  • Sprinkle in the baking powder and salt, and mix them in thoroughly.
  • Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition.  When the cookie dough is thoroughly mixed, mix in the chocolate chips by hand until they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • Line with your cookie/baking sheets with foil (**Deb’s note: I used parchment paper and it worked fine).  Use a teaspoon to drop cookie dough 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets, no more than 12 cookies to a sheet.  (**Deb’s note: you can always use a larger spoon to make larger cookies, or scoop as little or as much dough as you want to get the desired size.  The cookie dough does spread, so just keep that in mind when dropping the dough on the cookie sheets).
  • Bake the cookies at 400 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  (**Deb’s note: 400 degrees was way too hot for mine so I decreased the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and the cookies turned out perfect.  I also just baked them for 8 minutes).
  • Remove them from the oven and let the cookies sit on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes.  Remove the foil (or parchment paper) and cookies from the sheets, foil/paper and all, to a wire rack to cool completely.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Plum Pudding Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2009.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 178.

White Chocolate Heaven – Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Viking Cookies Hot Out of the Oven

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One of my weaknesses is white chocolate.  I remember how ecstatic I was as a kid when I went over to a family friend’s house and saw white chocolate chunks in a candy bowl in their living room and how squealy I was when my friend gave me homemade white chocolate almond bark for Christmas this past holiday.  I’ve had many a birthday cake with white chocolate shavings on top, and I’ve never turned down a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie or a Hershey’s cookies ‘n’ creme bar.  It’s any wonder why I haven’t gobbled up the white chocolate cupcake at Short & Sweet Cupcakes yet given my love for the decadent stuff.  Anyway, I picked up some white chocolate chips awhile ago with the intention of creating and testing out my own original cupcake recipe but because I hadn’t finished tweaking measurements for it, I opted to use them to bake cookies for the time being instead!

This time around I chose a cookie recipe from Joanne Fluke’s Carrot Cake Murder, which was actually the first book from the murder mystery series I purchased nearly two years ago.  The recipe worked out perfectly with what I had on hand.  I already had white chocolate chips in my baking bag and I had oatmeal oats left over from the cranberry oatmeal crunch cookies I baked last month.  I LOVE these cookies so much!  These cookies have such a warm, creamy sweet flavour to them and I’m so happy they turned out well as I halved the recipe.  I adore the crackling on top and really, I would recommend this recipe to anyone who needs a simple, uncomplicated cookie recipe that is still decadent with that “wow” factor.  I ate 3 yesterday and another 2 today 😀  Why the cookies are called Viking cookies I’m not entirely sure though.  Your guess is as good as mine!

Recipe for Viking Cookies (Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip, yields 10 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter (4 sticks, melted)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (nutmeg will also work)
  • 4 ⅟₂cups flour (**Deb’s note: I used regular all-purpose white flour)
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips (make sure you use real white chocolate chips with cocoa listed as an ingredient, not vanilla chips.  If you can’t find chips, you can chop a block of white chocolate into chip-sized pieces)
  • 3 cups rolled oats (uncooked oatmeal)

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, or on the stove in a small saucepan.  (**Deb’s note: I microwaved my 2 sticks of butter in a bowl for 1 minute on high).  
  • When the butter is cool, mix in the white sugar and the brown sugar.
  • Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, vanilla, and spices.  Make sure it’s all mixed in thoroughly.
  • Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition.  Then add the white chocolate chips (or pieces of white chocolate if you chopped up a block) and stir thoroughly.
  • Add the oatmeal and mix.  The dough will be quite stiff.
  • Take the cookie dough in your hands and roll the dough into 1-inch balls (or however big or small you’d like depending on how big you want your cookies) and place them on a greased cookie sheet or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Flatten the cookies with the back of a spatula or with the palm of your hand.  You don’t need to smush them all the way down so they look like pancakes, just one squish will do.
  • Bake at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes or until they’re an attractive golden brown (**Deb’s note: mine took 11 minutes).
  • Cool the cookies for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheets and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Carrot Cake Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2008.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 10.

Mocha (Coco)Nut Butterball Cookies – A Foodie Murder Mystery Baking Mission

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I’m so excited to be sharing my first batch of fresh baked co0kies on the blog!!  I haven’t baked cookies since I was little and that was under the supervision and guidance of my aunt, so this is a big deal for me.  Reading through all the amazing recipes from my favourite Joanne Fluke foodie murder mystery novels got me all fired up and this recipe is from my most recent read, Apple Turnover Murder.  The cookies were incredibly easy to make, they didn’t take long to bake in the oven, and they taste freakin’ fantastic!  This is a no-egg recipe, so if you or anyone else you know has an aversion to eggs, bookmark this!  The cookies are a cross between Timbit donuts and regular cookies shape-wise, and they’re crunchy with bold flavour.  They have this delicious roasted coffee and flavour (hence the mocha) and hints of fudgy chocolate, and because I used shredded coconut for mine (the recipe originally calls for nuts, but you can substitute for shredded or flaked coconut), the texture is amazing.

Recipe for Mocha (Coco)Nut Butterballs (yields 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks, 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder***
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (no need to sift)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, or any other nuts (I substituted this with shredded coconut)

***if the only instant coffee you have on hand comes in granules or beads, just crush them into a powder with the back of a spoon before adding it to the cookie dough

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325°F, rack in middle position.
  • Soften the butter.  Mix in the white sugar, vanilla extract, instant coffee powder, cocoa powder, and salt (Deb’s note: if you’re using an electric hand mixer, make sure you fully break down and incorporate the sugar so that you’re not left with any sugary “grittiness” hanging out in your mixing bowl.  You’ll hear it and know it while you mix because it will sound “scratchy” if it’s not fully incorporated).
  • Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition (you don’t have to be exact, just make sure to add the flour in 3 parts).
  • Stir in the nuts or coconut and make sure everything is evenly distributed.
  • Form the dough into 1-inch balls (squeeze and roll them tight so they won’t crumble) and place them on an ungreased baking sheet (Deb’s note: I used 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper laid on top, with 15 cookie dough balls on each).  Press them down very slightly so they won’t roll off on their way to the oven.

  • Bake the cookie balls at 325°F for 12-15 minutes, until they are set (Deb’s note: I was able to fit both of my cookie sheets in the oven, with the rack in the middle position, by placing them in “vertically” side by side.  Mine took 13 and a half minutes).
  • Move the cookies from the cookie sheets to a wire rack.  Let them cool completely.
  • When the cookies are completely cool, dip them in powdered sugar to coat them (Deb’s note: I just left my cookies naked).

The cookie balls don’t deviant much in shape, so don’t freak out if you don’t see them flattening while they bake; they’re supposed to retain that round, ball shape for the most part.  I taste-tested (okay, more like gorged) on these cookies at multiple stages of “cooling”.  I had one when they were still warm, I had one when they were completely cool, and I had one the next morning.  The cookies taste AMAZING with age.  Although they were great when they were still warm, they were even more awesome the morning after.  The chocolate, coffee, and coconut flavours and textures are so much more pronounced the next day.  Cookie baking mission accomplished! 😀

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Apple Turnover Murder. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2010.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 69.