ALL the cookies

So last Saturday I was a co-host for a friend’s baby shower – I provided the desserts, the co-host brought ALL the main course-type food. Two slow cookers, plus aluminum trays. And a water jug with one of those little lift spouts. And the favors she just whipped up. While being a volunteer firefighter. This woman puts Martha Stewart to shame. I have all of the awe for her skills and all of the envy for her organizational skills and energy. Energy to do all the things would be nice to have. Really nice.

So desserts!

1) I made my signature dessert – Chai Snickerdoodles

  • Snickerdoodles are the recipe I made repeatedly out of my first cookbook – Better Homes and Gardens’ New Junior Cookbook
  • I made it for years exactly as the recipe called for, all the way from elementary school, through middle school, high school, and into college
  • and then I saw a recipe with more spices in the cinnamon-sugar coating – it’s a mix based on ‘chai’ spices from India: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom – it is even more delicious
  • (Snickerdoodles – yeah I have no idea where the name came from, but it’s basically a sugar/butter cookie ball rolled in spices and baked)

2) Pumpkin Cookies

  • we have [had] a couple cans of pumpkin purèe in the pantry; I insisted on buying a couple cans this year – ever since the year of there being NO pumpkin purèe in the supermarket [bad harvest year], I’m a little weebly about not having pumpkin in the house for baking
  • Next time, I really need to believe the serving size notes – the recipe does in fact make 6-7 dozen cookies. Big and chunky and beautiful cookies

and 3) a personal favorite, Ghriba Walnut Cookies

And, because in talking with the co-host ahead of time, she mentioned having a cupcake stand (she essentially did her own wedding), I made 4) cupcakes. Actually, I decided to make cupcakes first and decided on the rest after deciding on cupcakes. First, though, I’d have to pick a cupcake recipe. And um, it turns out, I only have one recipe for cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. I may have mention this before, but chocolate gives me migraines. Nasty, blinding migraines.

Adam at first taste: “Love, these are totally worth the migraine.”

(What the heck, it’s late, I can sleep through the worst of the migraine.)

Adam at second taste: “Oh my god, it’s like a drug!”

(Sweetie, you already convinced me!)

Warm, moist, good crumb, and rich (really rich. really, really rich).

Yeah, totally worth the migraine.

Chocolate Cupcakes

8 cupcakes
originally from allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes

This one is going to be customizable – change up the cocoa powder to suit your tastes: like dark chocolate more? use a darker chocolate powder. white chocolate fan? I’m sure there’s a white chocolate powder out there. Somewhere. Oh look, Amazon has everything.

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda (I guess-timated this one with a 1/4 tsp measure and they came out well)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp + 1.5 tsp butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

(I tripled this to 24 cupcakes very easily)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners OR liberally spray with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt together; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating well, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk; beat well.
  4. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Frost when cool. Or eat straight. They’re delightful straight.

And because I like desserts but try not to make them too often (because I would EAT ALL THE COOKIES), have a bonus recipe.

Ghriba Walnut Cookies

~ 2 dozen cookies
originally from Morocco

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups (225 g) walnut pieces, coarsely ground (food processors are great for this)
  • powdered sugar, for dredging & dusting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and butter. Blend in the sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Work it and the ground walnuts into the egg-butter mix. Mix to form a consistent, smooth dough. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4). Place the powdered sugar in a bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the dough into 1 inch / 2.5 cm balls. Roll the balls in powdered sugar and place on baking sheet, about 1 inch / 2.5 cm apart. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the sheet, and bake until golden and firm at the edges and cracked on the surface but soft in the center, another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet, then transfer to a rack. If desired, dust with more powdered sugar before serving.

Next time, I think I’ll try coating with a big crystal sugar (turbinado maybe) instead powdered sugar, just to see what happens.

From back to front on the stand, chocolate cupcakes, snickerdoodles, ghriba walnut cookies, and pumpkin cookies.

From back to front on the stand, chocolate cupcakes, snickerdoodles, ghriba walnut cookies, and pumpkin cookies.

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