Dorie’s Cookies – Valentine’s Day Share-a-Heart & Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Fans

Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Fans

In troubled times, nothing seems as healing as sharing food and company. I need to keep that in mind, the next time busy-ness and bitterness keep me away from my keyboard. Besides, in a city where the average rents are skyrocketing, we’re going to have to learn to rely on one another for sustenance and support. So, connecting through writing and food may become tools for survival as much as pleasurable pastimes.

That’s why Dorie Greenspan’s #cookiesandkindness initiative is such a timely project. Homemade cookies bring cheer while nourishing us in a deeply satisfying way – they may not be dinner, but psychologically and primally speaking, they will help assuage what ails you.

Valentine’s Day Share-a-Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day Share-a-Heart Cookies

Cookies certainly helped soothe my fellow committee members when we met on the evening of Valentine’s Day. I didn’t make one of the giant break-apart hearts that the recipe calls for, since it wouldn’t have fit on the table (or on the agenda, for that matter). Instead, passing these chocolate wafers around the table brought a necessary bit of cheer to the evening.

They remind me of Dorie’s Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta from Baking Chez Moi, with the same cocoa-forward flavour. The salt I used was a bit assertive, so I’ll probably reduce the quantity by 1/4 teaspoon next time I make these, but they were otherwise perfect. One of the delights of this book has been discovering how many delicious variations there can be for what seems like one of the most straightforward of cookies.

Rose-Hibiscus Shortbread Fans

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Shortbread is another cookie with simple roots and infinite variations. This version is made for showing off and sharing. Subtle notes of rose complement the brightness of hibiscus. My tea also included lemongrass, which added another layer of flavour. Rice flour increases the sandy texture of the cookies, which is welcome in shortbread. It’s perfect for an afternoon tea of dreaming and planning for a better future.

I want to believe we can beat the historical odds against curbing inequality. I hope that affordable housing solutions like housing co-operatives can once again build diverse communities in our cities. I’d like to see intersectionality become the guiding principle in movements and in everyday life.

Along the way, I’ll be baking and cooking to soothe myself and to nourish those around me. It’s a small thing, but it’s a necessary one.

February’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here and here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Dorie’s Cookies – World Peace Cookies

World Peace Cookies

The story of Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies is quite famous in home-baking circles. It may be hard to believe that a little cookie could bring the world together, but eating one makes anything seem plausible. Come to think of it, whenever I’ve brought World Peace Cookies to a meeting, decision-making has been relatively peaceful, too. There may be something to this theory.

Roll and bake sablé cookies create a lot of peace in the kitchen, too. I try and keep a few logs of various kinds in the freezer, so that I can bake on a moment’s notice. To keep your own peace of mind, make sure you treat this dough with patience, leaving it in the mixer until it really comes together, then working it into logs that hold together and are solid throughout. Your efforts will be well-rewarded.

Bonus Bake: Christmas Spice Cookies

Christmas Spice Cookies

These Christmas Spice Cookies were scheduled for December, and I made them in time for Christmas, but I didn’t have much time for posting to the blog last month. So, I’m presenting them now.

They’re one of four variations Dorie provides for her Do-Almost-Anything Vanilla Cookie Dough and they live up to their holiday-inspired name. These cookies are delicately spiced, allowing the vanilla dough to shine, and they’re the perfect foil for the deeper flavours of gingerbread and chocolate on the cookie tray. They’re also a great alternative to sugar cookies, with a more complex flavour than the usual cut-out Christmas favourites.

I’m a big fan of both of Dorie’s Do-Almost-Anything Doughs. They’re easy to work with, full of flavour, and batched big enough to make several variations or an office party’s worth of one kind of cookie.

This week’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here, along with posts about the other Tuesdays with Dorie selected recipe for December, Breakfast Biscotti.

Dorie’s Cookies – Pfefferneusse

I can’t seem to stop baking lately, with cookbook reviews, craft fairs, cookie swaps, and family get-togethers whisking me through November at a faster pace than I care for. The compensation is that the holidays are just around the corner and all that baking will go to good use. 

Well, except that some of it was donated and almost all the rest was shared and shared again, until I realized that I’d only managed to stash away some biscotti in the freezer. Everything else was gone.

Which sounds like a sad story, but honestly, I’m happy to have a reason to bake more. It’s my favourite way to gear up for the holidays.

These Pfefferneusse (or pepper nuts) were a great way to start. They’re full of spices and pecans, Christmas staples, and they can be dipped in chocoate or dusted with icing sugar, making them pretty and even tastier.

I’ll be sharing these Christmas week, so I left all but a few plain and popped them into the freezer.

However, I’m considering making another batch, so I can share them a little sooner. They’re this month’s Cookies and Kindness selection. Dorie has shared the recipe and you can make some to make someone’s day.

This week’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here, along with posts about the other Tuesdays with Dorie selected recipe for December, Christmas Spice Cookies.

Dorie’s Cookies – Chocolate Crème Sandwiches

Chocolate Crème Sandwiches

It feels right that new Dorie Greenspan cook-alongs start in the fall. Obviously, it’s tied to the fall book release season, but it also coincides with the waning of summer and the year’s retreat. What better way to combat the cold and darkness than to dig into a cookbook full of rich, comforting food with a steady and nurturing guide?

Even better, these cook-along provide a host of virtual companions to combat the nesting urge that settles on so many of us in the winter months. And since the subject of Dorie’s latest book is cookies, the quintessential sharing food, your in person social life won’t wane, either.

For my first foray into this new book, I made Chocolate Crème Sandwiches, one of the two November picks from this cookbook for Tuesdays with Dorie. They’re a homemade version of Oreos, but I like them a whole lot more. Especially since I made a grown up version – instead of vanilla, I flavoured the filling with Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Dorie mentions in the headnote that this dough is easy to work with and it’s truly a dream. I only baked a few cookies tonight, cutting the rest out and freezing them. Now, I’ve got a bag full of them, ready to bake when needed. The filling lasts for a few days, so fresh-baked cookies will be on the menu for the rest of the week.

As much as I’d like to keep them all to myself – the salt to sweet ratio is just perfect, as is the chocolately crunch – I’ll be sharing these, in the spirit of Dorie’s new project, Cookies & Kindness. She’s sharing recipes from the book monthly and encouraging others to bake and spread a little kindness wherever they may. I think that’s a lovely practice and I hope it encourages me to bake more often, so I can spread some kindness to my family, friends, and neighbours.

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If you want to get on the bandwagon, and you live in Canada, you’ll be eligible to win yourself a copy, courtesy of Raincoast Books, when I post my full review of Dorie’s Cookies as part of my annual holiday cookbook review. It all starts on November 10th and I’ve got a great line up again this year.

This week’s Dorie’s Cookies goodness can be found here, along with posts about the other Tuesdays with Dorie selected recipe for November, Peanut Butter Change-Ups.

Ginger Snapped

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Every year during the holidays, there’s always one treat that outshines the others. Some years it’s sucre à la crème, other years it’s Nanaimo bars or butter tarts. This year, it’s ginger cookies that everyone wanted. Early in the season, I resurrected a recipe from the copy of Company’s Coming: Cookies that I received as a gift when I moved out of my parents’ house oh-so-many years ago. I’ve been making batches nearly weekly, ever since.

It’s one of those old-fashioned cookbooks that are worth hanging onto, like the Five Roses or Betty Crocker ones. Though I won’t touch the cake-mix based recipes with a ten-foot pole, there are many reliable, delicious cookie recipes to be found there.

These cookies are sugar and butter bombs, with a deep molasses and ginger flavour and a crisp-but-tender texture that makes them perfect for dunking.

I’m going to keep making them as they are, but I’m curious to see if I can come up with a healthier version, too. Some of my favourite cookie-eaters can’t partake in something quite so indulgent. So, I’m adding it to my investigation pile, along with the perfect gluten-free, vegan peanut butter cookie. Watch this space for developments.

You can find the recipe online if you Google, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s gotten permission, so I won’t link to it here. I’d head down to your local library to check out the Company’s Coming books, instead. A librarian friend of mine says they’re some of the most perennially popular cookbooks they circulate. You might even surprise yourself and buy a copy – sometimes it’s the old-fashioned recipes that satisfy the most.

Buttery Jam Cookies – A Tuesdays with Dorie Catch Up

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I toyed with the idea of blogging for years before I began and one of my regrets was that I didn’t start soon enough to join in with the first round of Tuesdays with Dorie, when they baked their way through Dorie Greenspan‘s Baking From My Home to Yours.

Happily, Laurie Woodward started French Fridays with Dorie right around the time I finally did start blogging, as well as rebooting Tuesdays with Dorie – first, with a bake-a-long through Baking with Julia and most recently, Baking Chez Moi. I worked through a number of the Baking with Julia recipes with my nieces, until their newly adult lives took them in other directions. I join in with the Baking Chez Moi schedule whenever I can.

Today, though, I’m going to sneak in a post about one of my favourite recipes from Baking From My Home to Yours. It’s not the flashiest recipe in the book, but it’s one of the most satisfying ones for me. I love having homemade goodies for guests or to bring as gifts when I visit friends, but I often find myself baking without much time to spare.

As long as you’ve got some room-temperature butter on hand (and if you don’t, The Kitchn‘s got you covered), you can have freshly made cookies on hand at even the shortest of notice. And if you have the sort of friends that drop in, you can invite them into the kitchen while you bake. Kitchen visits are the best, anyway.

Even better, it’s a great way to use up any of the jams you’ve been collecting in your fridge. Toast may have become its own food group, but jam can do so much more. Especially when it’s paired with ginger or another complementary spice.

I’ve used a number of different jams with this recipe and most pair with ginger really well. I’ve added a little black pepper when I’ve used strawberry jam and substituted ground cardamom when I used plum jam. It’s a very forgiving recipe, because the butter cookie base makes just about any flavour combination shine.

This time, I used some ginger peach jam that my neighbour gave me (I gave her some of the jam back in cookie form). I felt the cookies would have benefitted from a little heat – perhaps some black pepper, but maybe the tiniest bit of cayenne. Does that sound too out there? I think it would work.

I still have some of that jam left. These cookies are so easy that they invite experimentation. I may have to stock up on butter.

See what else the Tuesdays with Dorie crew has been catching up on: Rewind!.

Baking Chez Moi – Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies

  

In my favourite storybooks, when I was small, the bears…or rabbits…or children always seemed to come home for tea. This was probably the beginning of my tea obsession, but there was something else that stuck with me.

The description of jam-filled cookies and the illustration of perfectly round, lightly browned, sturdy cookies – sometimes iced, sometimes plain. Now, I realize that these were probably the easiest things to draw, but they piqued my imagination. I never did find a cookie that measured up precisely, though Dorie’s Palets de Dames came close.

However, these Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies come closest of all. There’s something about the shape of them that’s reminiscent of a vintage drawing. Something about the texture – soft without too much give. And something about the jammy surprise in the centre that’s pure nostalgia. Who can say why these satisfy this particular memory for me? I just know that when I have grand-nieces and nephews, I’ll be baking these cookies for them for storytime.

You can find the recipe here. And for the record, I used peach jam, mixed with a tiny bit of ginger. It was a great choice.

You can find the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie crew’s entries on this recipe here: Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies.

FFWD – Croquants

Croquants

Hello Doristas – I’ve missed you! I can’t believe this is my first French Fridays post since the beginning of the month, but it’s been hectic around here.

This week’s recipe is one of my favourite sweet treats from this book, one that I’ve made often when I’ve had extra egg whites in the kitchen. (Although its place as my favourite egg-white-using dessert may now have been usurped by Dorie’s Cranberry Crackle Tart.)

I’ve even made these cookies when I didn’t have egg whites to use up, which reminds me – I’d love it if cookbooks had an index section for egg yolk recipes, as well as one for egg white recipes. Pavlova lovers will agree with me, I’m sure.

I love croquants with any kind of nuts, but my favourite version uses a mix of different nuts – our co-op sells a ‘fancy nut mix’ that’s perfect for these cookies. I’ve tried them with unsalted nuts, but found the cookies were then too sweet, so I stick with salted nuts now.

These cookies are perfect with a cup of tea and keep quite well in a cookie tin. I brought a big batch of these to a training a few months back and the Chair took the leftovers home, as we had another meeting scheduled for the next night. He showed up to that meeting empty-handed, explaining that “a couple of friends dropped by last night and, uh, we ate all the cookies.”

I think that’s a ringing endorsement.

You can find David Lebovitz’ version of croquants here (or even better, you can get yourself a copy of Around My French Table). And you can find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts on this week’s recipe here: Croquants.