I love Halloween. And Thanksgiving. And Christmas. And Valentine’s Day.
Admittedly, I love every holiday that gives me an excuse to be in the kitchen. My lovely roommate would attest to the fact that of these holidays, Halloween is a clear favorite. Last year I made more than we were able to consume! Eating sweet things + Dressing up in a costume and prowling the streets of new york? Riiiight, like I would ever pass that up.
Unfortunately, I am busy studying this year and abstaining from the spooky sexy goodness (it’s my first time not dressing up in 22 years! sadness of my life). I am, however, putting three of my favorite fall cookie recipes out there so that someone will be able to partake in the festivities.
The first is a not-so-sweet lemon shortbread that I made as an accompaniment for my friend’s tea party this past September. They are simple and infused with chamomile so you can imagine that they go well with any warm beverage and a cozy sweater. Eating them makes me feel like a ‘lady of leisure”. The second is my all-time favorite rainy-night oatmeal cookies (I hate raisins, so expect chooocoolate). The whole-wheat flour, extra cinnamon and walnuts all complement the oatmeal in ways never before experienced in your mouth. The final is my favorite Halloween treat made for the roomie last year. Three words for you: Reese’s. Peanut-Butter. Cups.
Dress Up and Rub Somebody This Weekend. Think of Me. xoxo.
Classy Lemon-Chamomile Shortbread Cookies
(Retrieved and adapted from realsimple.com)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey (+extra for drizzle topping)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lemon (for both zesting and squeezing juice –> see Tip below)
4 packets of chamomile tea
1. Heat oven to 325° F.
2. In a small bowl, zest lemon and combine with squeezed juice from inside the lemon. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and vanilla extract.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and mix until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in the lemon zest mixture, followed by the continents of 3 tea packets, and finally the flour. Continue mixing until dough forms.
4. Evenly press the dough into a brownie pan or an 8-inch square cake pan. Dizzle lightly with honey and the continents of remaining tea packet.
5. Bake until the shortbread begins to turn golden (17- 30 minutes depending on your oven and size of your pan, check regularly after 17 minutes).
6. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into 9 squares, then cut each square diagonally to make triangles. This makes 18 pieces total.
7. Cool completely. Remove the shortbread cookies from the pan.
For me, the easiest way to zest a lemon is to take a lemon and cut it in half, then cut each new section into another half (so that you have 4 pieces out of the lemon total). Take one of the four quarter sections into your hand and, using a cheese grater, lightly scrape the yellow off of the lemon peel. Stop when you have exposed the white inner peel. Continue with the remaining pieces of lemon. You may have to manually clean off zest from the grater and put it into the bowl from time to time.
World’s BEST Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(retrieved and adjusted from smitten kitchen’s oatmeal raisin recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter or butter-substitute, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I like to use Ghirardelli’s 60% dark bittersweet, but any type of chocolate chip will do)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and walnuts, if using them.
At this point you can either chill the dough for an hour in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. (If you are short on time, feel free to bake them right away, but be aware that this will make them slightly less thick).
The cookies should be two inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in).
Take the cookies out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.
Recipe makes a couple dozen standard-size cookies.
Halloween Special: Peanut-Butter Cup Cookies
(retrieved and modified from realsimple.com)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature or butter substitute from cold
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 12-ounce package small peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 375° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them appropriately.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the peanut butter cups.
Drop tablespoon-size mounds of dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
K!tchen Soundtrack for this recipe: “Thriller”- Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982), “Sweet Transvestite”- Tim Curry, Rocky Horror Picture Show(1975), “Touch a Touch a Touch a Touch Me” – glee cast, Rocky Horror gLee Show (2010)