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no-bake lemon drops

No-Bake Lemon Drops

Every time I come home I am expected to do a few things. Make dinner, fix problems on my mom’s iPhone and laptop, etc. Making my mom a lemon drop martini every night is also on the list. I’m happy to do it – playing bartender for my mom has a very fun Christina Crawford feel to it. Making lemon drop inspired cookies is even better.

I tried these weeks ago during a shoot at work and immediately photocopied the recipe for my own use. Finding a really really delicious no-bake treat is hard, in my opinion, and this one is fantastic. Just the right balance of sweet and tart, plus oddly refreshing since they’re chilled. There’s no vodka in them (sadly!) but instead crushed up lemon drop candies, my all-time favorite treat. Be sure to use the rough, cheap drug store-type lemon drops. The kind that make your tongue feel like sandpaper after having too many. Yummy!

double raisin oatmeal cookies

On the twelfth day of Christmas my oven gave to me… 4 dozen awesome oatmeal cookies!

Okay I know the twelfth day of Christmas is technically January 5th but it’s 12 days until Christmas right now and I can’t help it. It’s inevitable. The holidays roll around, I get insanely festive, and the baking bug bites me bad (try saying that 3 times fast!) Even after a full day of cooking and styling I still want to come home and just listen to Bing Crosby and make cookies. That is the power of Christmas. And that is why I love it so.

These cookies are a riff on my favorite oatmeal raisin by using some golden raisins and pecans, two things I had sitting around and just sounded fun to toss in. I’m such a fan of scooped cookies – rolls you have to chill and then slice seem so tedious and not at all what you want to bake after a hard day’s work. So throw these together and enjoy! You can even freeze the dough balls and bag them up to bake in the future. Not a bad present to save for yourself, if I do say so myself!

chocolate-dipped macadamia nut cookies

The Test Kitchen is swamped with cookies right now. Every few hours it feels like a new batch appears. Millionaire’s shortbread. Madelines. Pear bars. A new cookie book is in the works and you’d think it would make my desire for cookies wane, but oh no, the exact opposite has been happening. I just want cookies more now.

I whipped these together after reading the recipe in Everyday Food. I love macadamia nuts and the idea reminded me of one of my favorite guilty pleasures, the Sausalito cookie from Pepperidge Farms. Toasted macadamia nuts, bittersweet chocolate, and just the right texture of a moist inside with a delicately crisp bottom.

The chocolate is pretty thick so I didn’t dip so much as paint on the portion that is chocolate. I was tempted to break out the pastry bag and tips and do pretty designs but yeah, delusions of grandeur and laziness got the better of me. Lack of frills aside, these are still delicious and soul satisfying.

oscar party (amputated roasted chicken wings & popcorn-raisinet cookies)

It’s time for… Oscar Oscar!

This year I’ve gone all out. I mulled over the idea of throwing an Oscar party and finally decided to go ahead and do it when I found this recipe for Popcorn-Raisinet Cookies I just about died over. Me being me, I had to embrace my old nickname of The Hostess with the Mostest and really have fun with the menu. The fact that the majority of my guests tonight will be my coworkers (aka great cooks but also junk food indulgers) made it extra fun. I wanted to theme everything served around a Best Picture nominee and here’s what I came up with:

Whiskey Sours (True Grit)
Pinot Noir (The Kids Are Allright)
Finger Foods (Should be handless food, a la Winter’s Bone):
Cucumber-mint tea sandwiches (The King’s Speech)
Amputated Roasted Chicken Wings (127 Hours)
Pizza Rolls & Mountain Dew (The Social Network)
Black (Bread) & Blue (Cheese) (The Fighter)
A dip within a dip within a dip (Inception)
Favorite childhood candies (Toy Story 3)
Black & White Swirled Brownies (Black Swan)
Popcorn-Raisinet Cookies (party favors)
Almost everything was easily made in advance – the only things requiring real “recipes” were the chicken wings and the cookies, which I’ve given below. I learned from Ina that the best hostess makes as much in advance as possible – that way you can enjoy the party, which I plan to do! So I’m off to finish getting ready. I hope you all enjoy the show and I must cheer on Colin Firth, Michelle Williams, and my sci-fi heart is secretly rooting for Inception even though I’ll be happy if The King’s Speech or The Social Network wins.

cowboy cookies

Sometimes you just have to bake cookies at 11pm on a Saturday night. And sometimes they just have to be chocolate-oat-pretzel cookies.

I got the Baked Explorations book for Christmas and this is the first thing I made out of it. I love the writing style of the Baked duo and their absolutely meticulous borderline OCD/Rose Levy Beranbaum way of explaining how to bake something as simple as cookies. Use cool (but not cold) butter, use a scoop this exact size, press down on the cookies but don’t smush them, etc. As much as I love to cook on the fly, sometimes it’s more relaxing to just follow instructions to the T. And this T stands for Totally awesome cookies.

Everyone knows I’m a sucker for salty sweets and so the pretzels are of course a fabulous element I love in these. Still, I wish they were even more salty. So in the ingredients listed below I’ve added a bit more salt and say you should use bittersweet chocolate. I think the cookies would just really benefit from it. They would go from totally awesome to super totally awesome. If there is such a thing.


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