November 15, 2009

The Sweetest Thing: A Double Batch of Birthday Wishes

Another week, another birthday in the office! This time it was for a coworker who is a trained nutritionist, but who happens to love cookies!  So I went for two types that aren’t necessarily “healthy” but at least sort of sound like they could be.  The Nutella and peanut butter ones (which I have renamed Chocolate Crack Cookies because no one could stop eating them) are gluten free and could be vegan if you substituted out the egg.  The shortbread cookies were my personal favorite though.  From the delightful Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, this recipe is moist and delicious, made a little more hearty and rustic by the addition of shredded carrots, apples, and grated lemon zest.  My version ended up tasting mostly like lemon zest, which I didn’t mind one bit.  I’ll be playing around with this recipe for the holidays, maybe even adjusting the shortbread so that it is equally as delicious dipped in chocolate.  Oh and the best part about these two cookie recipes?  They both produce doughs that are easy to work with in a 30 sq. ft “kitchen”!

Chocolate Crack Cookies (from alice y on

Serves 2 dozen 1 inch sized cookies
¾ cups Nutella or other brand chocolate hazelnut spread 
¼ cups smooth peanut butter
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients together until just combined.
Roll the dough into ¼ inch thick balls (you can vary the size). Place balls one inch apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for exactly 8 minutes. Let cool on the parchment for one minute and then transfer to a wire rack.

Apple and Carrot Shortbread Cookies (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

¼ c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ c. all purpose flour 

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. sea salt

5 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 c. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. carrot, grated
1 tbsp. apple, grated
1 tbsp. lemon

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.
Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir the carrot, apple, and lemon zest into the flour mixture, and mix until well coated and evenly dispersed. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a dough forms, then knead a couple times to bring everything together. Split the dough in two, flatten each piece into an inch-thick patty, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
When you're ready to bake the shortbread, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface 1/2-inch thick. Use a metal cutters to stamp out cookies, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown just a bit. (You can place them close together on the baking sheet, they will not expand.)

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