Category Archives: Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies

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2L classes have finally come to an end. It’s amazing how quickly this semester has flown by. In honor of the last day of class, I made some cookies for my clinic seminar on Monday. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (I swear by the Williams-Sonoma recipe) and, one of my personal favorites, Mexican Wedding Cookies (also known as polvorones).

I’ve been making variations of these cookies since I was in high school. Personally, I like the traditional version, but know that you can easily switch things up and satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. By making some substitutions, these can be transformed into a nut-free and/or dairy-free treat. I’ve tried many a recipe, but these have definitely become my favorite. They are soft and easy to make, plus no fancy equipment required (alway a win in my book).

My fellow tastetester, Jocelyn!

Also, Happy Birthday to my dear friend Jocelyn who puts up with my crazy shenanigans, accompanies me on random restaurant outings, humors (and tastes) my cooking experiments, listens to my life rants, helped me fight mice in my last apartment, willingly subjects herself to appearances on this blog, and is just a lovely person all around. Happy Birthday, Joss!! <3s you!

Happy eating!

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Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies

When I moved home for the summer, I brought back a ton of pantry staples. Spices, vinegars, baking supplies, tea–it was as though a mini mart moved into my mother’s house. One of the things that came back with me was my supply of Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Latte Powder. Being Indian, I naturally have a thing for chai. It’s in my blood. So when I was looking for a new, non-chocolately (is that a word?) baked good to try, I thought it might be nice to find a way to use some of my stock.

I came across this recipe for  chai-spiced cookies and had to give it a try. The result is a soft cookie, reminiscent of snickerdoodles but with a stronger spicy kick. The original recipe calls for a few traditional spices and flavors, but I took the easy route and used ¼ cup of the chai latte powder. These were a big hit at the office and, according to my colleagues, taste great dunked in coffee. Happy eating!

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Christmas Cookies, Round 2

Happy holidays, everyone! It’s officially the most (albeit craziest) time of the year! Exams are over, shopping is more or less done, and the tree is set up. All we need is a little snow to officially get me into the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, the weatherman claims that we won’t be having a white Christmas this year. This may call for a snow dance.

As Megan already noted, nothing signifies the beginning of the holiday season like baking cookies.  My cookie list stays roughly the same every year. Megan actually gets quite a bit of credit for the cookies that make it onto my baking list! There are the chocolate ganache thumbprints and ginger cookies (which Megan introduced you to), plus Dorie Greenspan’s rugelach, lemony shortbread, coconut macaroons, and, my sister’s personal favorite, birds in a nest. To say that our house is overflowing with butter and sugar is an understatement. Most of these get boxed up and handed out to family friends, but I always keep a few rugelach for myself 😉

I’ve included links to most of the recipes below, but I’m typing out the full recipe for birds in a nest. This recipe comes from one of those old paperback cookbooks that they used to sell by the checkout lines at the grocery store. My mom picked it up when Liz and I were little, and my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from this book as well. These cookies first made an appearance as a gift for Liz when she returned from studying abroad during the summer between 10th and 11th grade. She hated them. Ever the persistent sibling, I made them the following Christmas. I don’t know if it was guilt from the first round or a sudden revelation, but she’s loved them ever since.

Anyway, I hope Megan’s and my recipes are helpful this holiday season. Happy eating and happy holidays!!!

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Christmas Cookies

If you’re like me, you’re having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.  We put up our Christmas tree over Thanksgiving weekend, and I’ve been listening to carols for weeks.  I’ve been to holiday parties and have enjoyed the Christmas hymns at church.  However, despite the music and shopping and cards, it just doesn’t seem like late December.  Oh wait, maybe it’s this ridiculous weather.  Right now, New York City is gross.  It’s rainy, warm, and muggy.  How can a girl dreaming of a white Christmas get into the holiday spirit with this disgusting weather?  Well, here’s how . . .

Last Friday was my last week of teaching for the year 2011, so this past weekend, I devoted my time to Christmas cookies.  I cleaned my kitchen, I bought my supplies, I blared my holiday tunes, and I baked . . . and baked and baked and baked.  In the end, I made hundreds of cookies . . .

And then, I boxed them all up—carefully, dividing the box into sections and placing the cookies into paper cupcake cups to make everything look fancy—and I sent them all to work with Brandon.  I do this every year.  Brandon receives a little popularity, I get to bake, and I get the calorie-filled, butter-and-sugar-stuffed treats out of my house.

Well, most of them.  I kept a dozen or so, and I’m officially addicted to the mint fudge I made for the first time this year.

Every year, for the most part, I make the same cookies.  I have three recipes that are top-notch—the best:  chocolate ganache thumbprints, cranberry-pistachio cornmeal biscotti, and giant ginger cookies.  The chocolate thumbprints—Brandon’s most favorite—are rich with a slight saltiness that makes them sinfully decadent.  The biscotti are crispy, light, and because they are filled with red cranberries and green pistachios, ultra Christmas-y.  Last, but certainly not least, are my chewy ginger cookies.  They might be the most popular:  soft, spicy, and enormous.

In addition to the favorites, I usually make a candy of some sort.  In years past, I’ve made peppermint bark, but this year, I opted for some peppermint fudge.  Whoa, I had no idea how great this fudge would turn out.  No candy thermometer required.  It’s smooth, rich, and refreshingly minty.

And on top of that, I made sugar cut-outs.  I was dying to do a little decorative frosting, so I made these the day before I made the rest.  The dough was super easy, and the cookies turned out delicious.  To color the dough and frosting, I used food coloring gel—sometimes called paste.  This creates bright, saturated color—no pastel pinks and greens here—and doesn’t change the consistency of the dough or icing.  Mine is from Martha Stewart, but I know Wilton makes it, too.  Cake stores and other “fine kitchen stores” sell it.  It’s definitely worth seeking out, and, because you don’t need to use much, it lasts a long time.

Well, needless to say, all of this cookie baking (and giving) put me right into the Christmas spirit.  I promise, any of the following recipes will get you and your family ready for the holidays, too.  Enjoy, and happy holidays! Continue reading


Peanut Butter Blossoms

I hope that everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving! From roasted turkey to goat cheese mashed potatoes to a delicious pumpkin cheesecake, I was a pretty happy (and ridiculously full) camper. That being said, I did come away with a few second degree burns on account of a (literal) run-in with sweet potatoes. As a result, my right hand is slightly out of commission as it recovers from my cooking misadventures.

Now that one holiday is over, I think I’ll take the approach followed by department stores and marketing agents everywhere and turn my attention to the next holiday: Christmas. Every year, I make a wide variety of cookies to distribute to our family and friends. Sugar cookies, chocolate ganache thumbprints, birds in a nest, rugelach, coconut macaroons–the list goes on and on. This year, I plan on incorporating  peanut butter blossoms into the mix.

I first had these cookies in the first grade when one of my peers brought them in as her birthday treat (this was before peanut allergies made this impossible). I had a hard time finding a recipe I liked, however, until the spring of my junior year when studying abroad. Peanut butter is a bit difficult to find in Florence, and my friends and I found ourselves missing it (even though none of us eat it normally…it’s funny what being away from home does to your tastebuds). Sam’s mom emailed her their family recipe, her dad brought us peanut butter and a giant bag of Hershey Kisses when he visited, and we spent an afternoon happily making cookies.

Here’s hoping you enjoy these as much as my friends and I do. Happy eating!

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Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cranberry Cookies

A snowy Gramercy Park

I love the snow, so I have really enjoyed this winter in New York.  For me, snow is only a nuisance when I am driving or flying.  Luckily, here in the city, I don’t have a car, and I get to walk everywhere—including to work. Above is a snapshot of my morning commute.  Not bad.

The winter weather also keeps me wanting for comfort food.  Every night, I find myself craving a big plate of pasta for dinner and fresh-baked cookies for dessert.

Well, tonight is the night.  On my way home from work, I picked up pasta from a neighborhood restaurant, and I picked up ingredients for “chocolate chunk oatmeal coconut cookies.” Continue reading


Snickerdoodles

Martha Stewart is a culinary genius. No, seriously. The woman could tell me to add sardines to a recipe, and I would do it – and I hate sardines. In fact, with a little less insider-trading and a lot more baking, she could probably bring about world peace. Actually, with the state of our world, Martha should probably get on that.

Anyway, I am taking a course in nonviolence theory and practice with Ursela this semester. It is actually pretty interesting and serves as a nice contrast to the classes I normally take on realist theory and the international system. Each class, however, is about three hours long, so most of us are ravenous by the end. Solution? Bring in food. One of our classmates brought in brownies the week before, and, knowing that there would be tons of chocolate around campus on account of Halloween, I opted to go for something that involved less cocoa: snickerdoodles.

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