Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies do not make any sense. Let's start with the name: Spicy Oatmeal Cookies. Spicy, to me, means hot like a chili pepper. These cookies are not hot like a chili pepper. They're spiced. They contain nutmeg and cloves and taste a little bit like autumn. But they're not spicy. They don't even contain cinnamon, which I would consider the "spiciest" oatmeal cookie spice, you know? Next, they contain no chocolate. None. No cocoa powder, no chocolate chips, nary a chocolate chunk in sight. What even is the point? Also, these are crunchy cookies. I definitely prefer to stay in the land of ooey, gooey, chewy cookies.  Finally, the most egregious abuses of baked goods: they contain nuts. Not almonds or pecans, the less offensive of the nut world. Walnuts. The worst. 

And yet, when my sister texted me a picture of the recipe card where she recorded Mom's Spicy Oatmeal Cookies we remember so fondly from childhood, I couldn't wait to get baking. The only substitution I made was to use butter in place of shortening; the rest I kept exactly how my mom used to make when we were kids. And they are perfection. Grady won't eat them because of all the bits, Poppy can't eat them because she's allergic, and Shawn just looks confused whenever he bites into one and realizes all over again that these are non-chocolate cookies, but I don't care. They are exactly how I remember them.

A quick note: you might be tempted to skip the almond extract because it seems a bit fuss-ass to have both vanilla and almond extract but please, for the sake of your cookies, resist. Use both and revel in the tastiness. 

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Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
7/8 cup all-purpose flour (whaaaaat? I know. I just used my one cup measure and scooped out a heaping tablespoon. Old recipes are weird.)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup medium shred, unsweetened coconut
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture just until combined.

Add coconut, oatmeal, and walnuts.

Form dough into small balls. Flatten slightly. Place on baking sheet spaced approximately 1.5 inches apart.

Bake 12 - 14 minutes until lightly golden.

Enjoy! 

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. 

Half & Half Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shawn and Grady's favourite cookie is the classic chocolate chip cookie but for Father's Day, I wanted to give the classic a little oomph. I didn't want to fundamentally change the basic chocolate chip cookie, but I did want to make it feel a little more special. These half & half chocolate chip cookies look impressive but don't take much more time to make than regular cookies. The recipes can be made as standalone cookies or they can be combined to make a fancier-but-still-classic chocolate chip cookie.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I tweaked this recipe slightly to suit my purposes.

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Melt butter.

Stir in sugars and salt until a smooth paste has formed.

Whisk in the egg and vanilla until combined well.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and chocolate chips gently until combined. Do not over mix. 

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight. (I know. I know! What a pain. But it honestly results in tastier, more flavourful cookies.) 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾  cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

Melt butter.

Stir in sugars and salt until a smooth paste has formed.

Whisk in the egg and vanilla until combined well.

Stir in flour, baking soda, cocoa, and chocolate chips gently until combined. Do not over mix. 

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight. 

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Half & Half Cookie Assembly

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop spoonfuls of chocolate chip cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheets. (I use my 1-teaspoon cookie scoop and the cookies are the perfect size.) Scoop similar-sized spoonfuls of double chocolate chip cookie dough and then roll the two balls together in your palms to create one ball of cookie dough that is half plain chocolate chip cookie dough and half double chocolate chip cookie dough. Flatten slightly and place two inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely. Enjoy!

Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Whipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

I first made my friend, Angella's, whipped shortbread six or seven years ago and it was added to my yearly Christmas baking schedule immediately. The recipe is wonderful as-is but over the years I've made a few tweaks. The orange zest makes it taste more Christmassy (if that's even possible) and if you're feeling fancy you can drizzle on some dark chocolate for extra punch.

One quick note about this recipe: a stand mixer is a must. You can try to use an electric hand mixer in a pinch but be prepared for a tired arm.

Whipped Orange Shortbread

Makes 5-1/2 dozen

Ingredients
1 lb unsalted butter, softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange, finely grated

Directions
Preheat oven to 325F.

Whip butter.

Add remaining ingredients. Whip for at least 10 minutes, pushing the batter down the sides of the bowl every few minutes so everything gets good and whipped. You'll notice the batter starts to look lighter (both in colour and texture) as you whip.

Spoon by tablespoon onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes. The cookies should be barely golden on the bottom.

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