Confetti Sugar Cookies

Confetti Sugar Cookies

I was scrolling through pins on Pinterest and a photo from Deliciously Sprinkled caught my eye.  While the Funfetti cake looked absolutely delicious, I was really drawn to the color of the sprinkles she used. The colors were just so vibrant, with every color of the rainbow.  Most importantly, they don’t have any brown sprinkles which I don’t like the look or taste of.  In the post, Jenn said she bought them in bulk from Nuts.com. I haven’t heard of Nuts.com before, but I certainly had to check out these sprinkles.  Not only are they beautiful in color but they are only $2.99/pound!  I also like that these jimmies have more of a crunchy texture rather than a waxy texture like other sprinkles. I know they are only sprinkles and it’s probably silly how I talk about them like I am in love or something. But, I can’t help but get excited about new baking product finds and I had to share. I immediately ordered 2 pounds of the rainbow jimmies, a pound of nonpareils, a bunch of dried fruit and nuts. My kids especially loved the dried strawberries, dried berry mix and dark chocolate covered almonds.  There are so many things I still need to try.

So, now that I had 2 pounds of rainbow jimmies, I had to find something to make with them. I really didn’t feel like making cake or cupcakes. Instead, I decided to make these confetti cookies and they were exactly what I was looking for.  I like that there aren’t many ingredients; it’s all stuff you probably have on hand. The dough comes together easily and quickly and in no time, you have about 3 dozen delicious buttery sugar cookies. The texture of these cookies is really soft, which is a nice contrast to the sugar crust on the outside.  Sadly (embarrassingly?), we tore through all these cookies in only 2 days. And in 2 weeks, I went through a whole pound of rainbow jimmies between these confetti cookies and another super delicious frosted sugar cookie recipe that I hope to share soon.

Confetti Sugar Cookies

Yield: ~36 cookies (I got 34)

1 1/3 cup butter @ room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sprinkles   Jimmies don’t bleed like nonpareils (the beads)

granulated sugar for the top of the cookies   (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar with the paddle attachment. Continue to beat until light and fluffy ~ 3 minutes.

Beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla until completely combined.

In a small bowl, with a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until combined and the dough comes together.

Gently fold in the sprinkles with a spatula to prevent the colors from bleeding.

With a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.

Optional step: Place about a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll just the top of each dough ball into the sugar  (this makes them sparkle and gives them a sweet crust)

Bake for ~11 minutes or until edges are just starting to turn golden. (Turn the cookie tray around at about 6 min). The tops will look just slightly underdone.

Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source:  Buns In My Oven adapted from allrecipes.com

Note: I don’t have any affiliation with Nuts.com, nor was I paid at all for this post. I just really like their products and wanted to share.
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S’mores Cookies

S'mores cookies

 

When I was a kid, I had the greatest time being a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. Now that my daughter Sammie is also a Brownie, I sometimes find myself thinking back to those days. One thing I loved about being a Girl Scout was camping.  Okay, so not in a tent in the grass but in a cabin on a cot, cooking our food by campfire, hiking, and horseback riding. That’s roughing it, right? At least kind of? A few things immediately come to mind from my Girl Scout days: one is sharing all those experiences with one of my best friends, Sara, and roasting marshmallows by campfire with sing alongs and ghost stories. What kind of Girl Scout would one be without a love for s’mores? Well, I do know one who doesn’t. My daughter. She just doesn’t like graham crackers, nor does my oldest son. When they go camping with my husband ( I “volunteer” to stay home with our 3 year old son), they have roasted marshmallows on fudge striped cookies. But, I just adore this flavor combination, so I had to find a way my kids could enjoy it too. A couple years ago, I found these s’mores cookies and I’ve made them several times since.  They are so delicious, but they somehow got lost in all the other baking I do. The base is essentially the same as that of a regular chocolate chip cookie, but you replace some flour with graham cracker crumbs. In the last few minutes of baking, you press a few marshmallows and some Hershey chocolate bar pieces into the top of the cookie. They are then finished in the oven until the marshmallows are gooey and the chocolate is melted just enough to stick. In the end, you get a fun cookie totally tasting like smore’s that I just know your kids, or the kid in you, will love.

S’mores cookies

Yield:  Recipe says 4 dozen, I got 26 but made mine quite a bit larger.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour   + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup graham cracker crumbs   I bought mine as crumbs but you can process some graham crackers until they are crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips  I prefer chopped chocolate: 1 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey milk chocolate bars, chopped   I used 4.5 bars

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy.

Add the eggs in one at a time and beat well after each addition

Slowly beat in the flour mixture until combined

Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks by hand with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed

Drop by a rounded tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheet. I used a 1.5 tablespoon ice cream scoop so I got fewer, but larger cookies. I got 9 cookies on a sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes (mine were 9 min) and remove from the oven.  They should be underdone.

Press 4 marshmallows and some pieces of Hershey bar into each cookie.

Return the cookie sheet to the oven to bake another 3-4 minutes until almost completely cooked. They will finish cooking on the cookie sheet for about 2-3 minutes.  Do not over-bake.

Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool them on a wire rack.

Source:  Two Peas and Their Pod; originally from Baked Perfection

Note: These recipes were exactly the same except for the amount of flour. The original recipe calls for 1.5 cups of flour and the Two Peas recipe calls for 2 cups. I split the difference and used 1 3/4 cup of flour. It turned out perfect for me.

Flour Bakery’s Famous Banana Bread

It’s that time again where I have a bunch of brown bananas sitting on my counter, seemingly growing browner by the minute if I don’t finally go and bake something with them.  On most days I would look for a bar or cake recipe, you know, something different.  But, there is something comforting about plain old banana bread and I felt like I could use that today.  Hmmm…what recipe to try is always the question.  I have heard that Flour Bakery makes a mean banana bread.  After all, it must be called Famous Banana Bread for a reason, right?  Everything I have made from the Flour Bakery cookbook has been delicious, so I decided to go with it.

I love to make quick breads because, I guess as the name implies, they are quick. 😀 No yeast and no waiting for dough to rise.  Nope, you just mix your batter, pour it into the pan and pop it into the oven.  It is so easy, that I had the batter mixed and the bread baked while Alex took his morning nap.  Heck, I even had time to take pictures before he was woken up by our dog, who apparently decided Alex had slept enough and plowed through his bedroom door.  I mean, what the heck Walter?  You don’t even like the baby, unless he is eating and dropping food as you wait impatiently below his high chair.  Sorry to get off track, but I am still not happy about that.  Back to the bread. What you end up with is a delicious, moist (Ugh. I hate that word, but I can’t think of another word to describe it) bread packed with banana flavor, just waiting to be slathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar.  Delicious. I can see why it is famous. ;D

Flour Bakery’s Famous Banana Bread

Yield: one 9 x 5 loaf

1 1/2 cups  (210 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup (100 grams) canola oil

3 1/2 very ripe, medium bananas, peeled and mashed (1 1/2 cups mashed/340 grams)

2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream   I used sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup (75 grams) walnut halves, toasted and chopped   I omitted

Position rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 325 F.  Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat sugar and eggs on medium x 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

On low, slowly drizzle in oil.  Don’t pour it all in at once. You want to pour it in over 1 minute, to keep all the air you just beat into the egg-sugar mixture.  Add the mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Continue to mix on low just until combined.

Using a spatula, fold in dry ingredients and nuts (if using) just until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts evenly distributed.  Pour into the greased loaf pan and smooth top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until golden on top and the center springs back when pressed.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then pop out of the pan to finish cooling.

The banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp up to 3 days.  Or, it can be well wrapped and frozen up to 2 weeks.

Source: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe

M&M Confetti Cookies

I know I have said this before, but I ♥ Pinterest.   Once I get started, I can stay up way late into the night, just scrolling through the food category, telling myself just one more page, and then another, and another… I am so tired and I have to get up with the baby early in the morning and yet, I keep on scrolling.  I know I am not the only one.  I’m not, right?  There are just too many great ideas and amazing looking recipes.  Awhile back, I came across these M & M confetti cookies and pinned the recipe because I thought it was so clever.  Instead of throwing whole M & Ms into your cookie dough, you bang the hell out of them with a stick (Burbs anyone? 😀 ) to create chocolate and candy coating confetti.  In Munchkin Munchie’s recipe, she added the confetti to sugar cookie dough.  And, while these look delicious, I decided to add them to one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough bases, replacing the chocolate chips.  So fun looking right?  You get the look of sprinkles and milk chocolate in every bite of this perfectly chewy cookie.  Definitely another keeper for Jack’s lunch box.

M&M Confetti Cookies

Makes about 18 large cookies.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar     I use light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz bag of M & Ms, crushed (more or less to your liking)

Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, the yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed (or mix by hand with a spatula) just until combined. Crush the M & Ms in a big Ziploc bag with a rolling pin (or any other heavy object you have handy) . Stir in the crushed M & Ms.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. (Or, if you prefer,  you can just use a large cookie scoop to portion the dough.)  Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.  See Brown Eyed Baker’s Blog for a good illustration of this shaping method.  

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and  yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Make sure you cool them on the sheet to maintain the right texture.  Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

Source:  The New Best Recipe for the cookie base and  Munchkin Munchies for the M & M confetti

Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

I have to say, I am glad summer is almost over. It has been so crazy hot here in Chicago, it was really hard to do anything outdoors.  With the end of summer, of course, comes the kids going back to school.  My daughter Sammie was excited to start kindergarten (okay, excited to ride the bus) and my son Jack, just started 2nd grade.  Jack is not a big fan of hot lunch, probably because he is so darn picky.  Since he won’t eat most of what I make, he sure isn’t going to eat cafeteria food.  So, Jack brings the same plain old turkey sandwich (no cheese, can this really be my son?) everyday, a bag of chips and a dessert. When I saw these cookies on Pink Parsley, I knew it would be a fun dessert that he would love and maybe for a second, know that I was thinking of him as he ate it.

The dough is like the usual sugar cookie recipe, but the addition of cake flour makes these cookies a bit softer.  The dough is pretty sticky, so you’ll have to allow at least one half hour of refrigeration before scooping and baking the cookies.  Once the cookies cool, you make a delicious butter cream that you can either spread on with a knife or pipe on.  Personally, I find piping to be much easier and it’s prettier too. When Jack got home from school, he couldn’t wait until tomorrow. He just had to try a cookie now. I think I counted a dozen Mmmms before I stopped counting.  And, I can’t forget my Sammie. She loved them too, especially the pink frosting.  Since she is in kindergarten, we get to have lunch together everyday, usually Rice-A-Roni at her request.  Well, besides her company, at least now I have dessert to look forward to.

Homemade Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

Yield: I got 48 cookies, 24 sandwiches

The cookie:

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

2 cups cake flour

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup colored sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and the sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the vanilla, melted butter, whole egg and yolk. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

Combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until just combined.  Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake 10-12 minutes (rotating the pans halfway through) until they are just starting to brown on the bottom and are barely firm on top.  Cool the cookies 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Slightly adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Yammy’s Noshery

The frosting:

1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted   I didn’t sift and it was fine

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1/3 cup colored sprinkles  I omitted and chose to color the frosting pink instead

Food coloring  optional   I used Americolor Deep Pink

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and beat on low until just combined and then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and heavy cream.  Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the sprinkles if using and/or the food coloring.

To assemble the cookies, match pairs based on size and shape before frosting.  Pipe or spread icing onto one half, then gently but firmly close the cookie.  Press lightly to spread the icing to the edges so it lo0ks pretty.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from Cooks Illustrated.  Frosting color and piping with a star tip inspired by Gingerbread Bagel

Flour Bakery’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite to bake because they are also my favorite to eat.  Though I will say, my kids and my husband can tear them up pretty good too.  😀 I’m not sure how many different recipes I have tried, but it’s a lot.  I am always on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  So, I decided to try Flour Bakery’s chocolate chunk cookie because everything I’ve made so far has been delicious.  I have never used bread flour in my chocolate chip cookies, but it is added to make them more thick and chewy.  That’s exactly what I am going for.  And then, oh my goodness this cookie sure does pack a chocolate punch with both semisweet and milk chocolate mixed into the dough.  This recipe uses chocolate cut from a bar instead of chocolate chips.  Chips have stabilizers that help them keep their shape when baked.  But, when you use real chocolate and you bite into a cookie right from the oven, the chocolate melts and oozes from the cookie.  If you haven’t tried it, you won’t believe how delicious it is.  You won’t ever have your chocolate chip cookies any other way.

Everyone says they have the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but I won’t say that.  I will say that these were some of the best I’ve had.  A bit crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and bits of chocolate throughout.  This is exactly how a chocolate chip cookie should be.  I think my husband ate half of them and my kids loved them.  Sammie keeps asking for more of the Amazin’ cookies. Amazin’?  I love it.

Flour Bakery’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen (I got 20 cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, at room temp

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (140g) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup (150g) bread flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

9 ounces (255g) semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) milk chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to release clinging butter or sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium for 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl and paddle to make sure the eggs are fully mixed in.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the semi sweet and milk chocolate pieces and toss to combine.  On low speed (or with a wooden spoon), slowly add the flour-chocolate mixture to the butter-sugar mixture.  Mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.

For the best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let rest in the fridge overnight (or at least 3-4 hours) before baking.  When you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Drop the dough in 1/4 cup balls onto a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment) about 2 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden on the edges but still soft in the center. I rotated the pans halfway through baking. Don’t let them brown through or you will lose the chewiness of the slightly underbaked centers.  Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.  Then, transfer the cookies with a spatula to the wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Unbaked dough can stay in the fridge, in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Source:  Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies

One of the hardest things to bake is the lovely French macaron, which is a light, almond-based meringue cookie sandwiched with a creamy filling.  They are just really finicky and it seems almost as though the stars have to align to get them just right.  Unfortunately, the stars apparently were in disarray and my macarons failed :(.  Big time!  All the shells and the batter went right into the garbage.  Oh well, I am really glad I tried and now I am more determined than ever to try again.  Hopefully sometime soon, you will see some beautiful macarons on my blog.   But, not too soon, because those failed macarons made me sad.  What makes me happy?   Delicious cookies.    Hmmm….but what kind would be best to lift my spirits?  They better be some fantastic cookies!!  Chocolate cookies?  Maybe.  Chocolate chip cookies?  I do love those.  I just couldn’t decide.  So why not make them both, marbled together in one cookie?  That’s a perfect compromise!  The nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to make two completely separate doughs, like you do in a lot of marbled cookie recipes.  You make the vanilla dough first, remove some of it to a separate bowl, and flavor what is left with cocoa powder.  The marbling looks so impressive, but it is really easy to do.  You just take a big pinch of both flavored doughs, sandwich them together, roll them in a ball, and then lightly press them into a disk.   That’s it!  Warm right from the oven, you will love the contrast in texture of the melted chocolate chunks against the soft, chewy cookie. Just when I thought these cookies couldn’t be more delicious, I just realized, as I am here writing and eating two cookies sandwiched together with vanilla ice cream…indeed they can be even more delicious!  These cookies certainly did their job.  Eh, French macarons?  What are those?  Winking smile
Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies  I got 34
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened alkalized (Dutch-processed) cocoa powder, sifted   I used Valrhona
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet bar chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces   I used more like 6 oz of semisweet Callebaut.  Chocolate chips will work, but they don’t melt like cut chocolate bars do.
1 3/4 cups pecan pieces   I omitted
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Have 2 ungreased baking sheets at hand.  I used parchment
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour mixture at low speed, mixing just until blended.

4. Transfer 1 3/4 cups of the dough to another bowl and set aside. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining dough in the mixer and mix on low speed until blended. Add half of the chocolate pieces and about half of the pecan pieces and mix until blended. Stir the remaining half of the chocolate and pecan pieces into the remaining light-colored dough. Fill half of a 1 tablespoon scoop or measure with the light dough, making it well rounded, not level. Fill the remaining half with the chocolate dough.   I took a big pinch of white dough in my left hand and of the chocolate with my right hand and sandwiched them together.  They were probably 1 Tbsp worth of dough together.  Roll the doughs into a ball and place it on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten it into a 1 1/2-inch disc with your palm (wet it first, to prevent sticking). Repeat to form more cookies, spacing them 2 inches apart. I got 9 cookies to a sheet.  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the lighter dough just begins to color. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Storage: in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Source:  The Good Cookie:  Over 250 Delicious Recipes from Simple to Sublime

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