Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies

Growing up, haystack cookies (or, as we referred to them… “worm cookies”!) were a common offering at special occasions. Around the holidays, these were served right alongside other staple favorites, such as Confetti Bars and my beloved Noelles.

Like Noelles, it’s another childhood favorite that I saw fit to mess with: While the original was great, the addition of cream liqueur takes it to a whole new level. Not so much in a *literally* intoxicating way, mind you – but the cream liqueur brings with it a complexity of flavor that the childhood favorite was lacking.

These are particularly fabulous with the “Baja” line of cream tequila liqueurs. I love it with Baja Rosa (Strawberry) and Baja Luna (Black Raspberry), but try it with any cream liqueur – Irish cream, Castries peanut creme, Godiva…yum!

These are easy, fast, no-bake.. and OH so addictive!

Don’t want the kids to miss out? Simply swap milk for the cream liqueur, and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

Boozy Chocolate Haystack Cookies

3 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Coconut
2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Cream liqueur of choice
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Cocoa

In a large bowl, combine oats and coconut, set aside. Prepare 2 cookie sheets – or a counter top – with parchment or waxed paper.

Combine sugar, liqueur, butter, and cocoa together in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat.

Pour hot mixture over coconut and oats, stir to coat everything evenly. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared pans or counter top, allow to cool fully – cookies will harden and “set up” as they cool. Store in an airtight container – these will keep a long time, assuming they go uneaten that long!

Makes at least 24 cookies

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Gluten Free Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

The fact that this recipe even exists… it’s sort of a miracle.

You see, I’m one of those people that hate fruitcake. It’s not that I buy into mass “ew!” hysteria (I love broccoli and Brussels sprouts, for instance!), it’s that I find glaceed / candied fruit to be one of the nastiest things on the planet. I mean, right up there with Velveeta. Gross.

Then, there is the “gluten free” issue.

As I mentioned in my recipe for an Easy way to make French Macarons, I am NOT a fan of anything that uses fake flours to make a regular recipe into a gluten free recipe. I’m a major “Gluten Free” Snob, and pretty much stick to treats that are inherently gluten free, such as coconut macaroons, Pavlova, and French Macarons.

I’ve just always found anything made with the fake flours to be nasty, both in taste and texture.

You may be asking yourself, right about now, WHY I created this recipe. Well, I’ll tell you – painkillers!

gluten free fruitcake cookies recipe

I really hate taking painkillers, as they make me feel really gross. I have to be in really rough shape to even consider it – and making tamales this weekend really beat me up. When I couldn’t move my arm/shoulder without screaming pain for a few hours, I finally caved in.

45 minutes later, I was sorta woozy and craving fruitcake. Yes, I know – I *HATE* the stuff.

So, I did what one would expect an ADD, creative baker with gluten allergies to do when high as a kite – I designed a gluten free recipe, and demanded nicely asked my husband to drive me shopping for the ingredients I would require.

I chopped the fruit and soaked them in booze overnight, looking forward to baking them the next day.

OH. WOW. These are amazing! I mean, amazing-amazing, not “amazing – for a gluten free cookie”. The substitution of dried fruits for glaceed, the Southern Comfort… it just created this vivid palette of flavor, and texture. These were so fabulous, my not-stuck-in-gluten-free-hell husband LOVES them. A few days later, and I’m already putting on a second batch! So good!

We used a mix of raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, and pineapple, but you can use a combination of whatever dried fruit you love. Oh, and don’t worry about buying too much – not only will you want to put on another batch once you try these… but I’ll be posting a recipe for gluten free fruitcake tomorrow!

For a HUGE variety of dried fruits, there’s no beating Nuts Online. Apples, blackberries, cantaloupe – so much variety! Just go for the more natural, chewy type dried fruit. Banana chips, freeze dried, etc – they won’t work as well.

gluten free fruitcake cookies

Gluten Free Fruit Cake Cookies Recipe
(This makes about 20-24 LARGE cookies… probably a good idea to double the recipe!)

1 lb (About 3 cups) mixed dried fruit*
1 cup Southern Comfort **
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup White rice flour
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 lb. pecans, chopped

A day or two before baking the cookies, chop dried fruits into pieces, mix in Southern Comfort, and cover.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or coat well with baking spray. Strain dried fruit mixture, leaving it in your sieve to drain while you prepare the rest of the cookie batter.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and zests, continue beating until eggs are fully incorporated and mixture is once again smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add most of it (reserve about 1/4 cup) to the butter & sugar mixture, beat gently until well combined.

Add strained fruit to the reserved flour mixture, toss well to coat the pieces (to separate them a bit). Add coated fruit and pecans to the cookie batter, mix well.

Use a tablespoon, cookie scoop, or small ice cream scoop to drop rounded spoonfuls of the batter onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes or so, before gently transferring to baking racks to finish cooling.

Once cookies are cool, keep them stored in airtight containers. Much like actual fruitcake, these tend to get even better with age!

* Although I’ve been a happy repeat customer for years, I am required by FTC law to disclose: Nuts Online actually gifted me a few ingredients for the development of some recipes several months ago. I would never in a million years recommend a company that I wasn’t thrilled with. It was my history as a BIG FAN of theirs, that prompted me to work with them in this manner in the first place. I receive no compensation for this endorsement – I just love em!

** If you’re not a fan of Southern Comfort, use Jack Daniels, Rum, or Brandy. Also, add a pinch each of cloves and nutmeg – it’ll work fabulously with these other spirits.

gluten free fruitcake cookies

Entering this recipe in the Food Bloggers of Canada “Christmas in July” Cookie Contest!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Fruitcake Cookies Recipe

I’ve been a bit conflicted over posting this recipe, much like I was for posting the Pecan Pie Cookies recipe.

Once again, this is a recipe that I’ve had – and used – for years. Today, I have NO idea where it came from, either from when I got it, or originally. I’m guessing I got this from a fellow caker (with permission to use it for my business!)… but who? Did they create it? Did they get it from someone else? I have no idea. 🙁

I don’t like how food celebrities tend to just comb the web, looking for recipes to swipe and claim as their own, so I feel a bit icky when considering doing (somewhat) the same. Does honesty about it mitigate the “gross” factor at all?

Thing is, these cookies were SUPER popular, back when I was selling holiday cookie trays. While fruit cake has a bd reputation on its own, these were loved by so many people – including those that hated fruitcake with a passion! It’s been a popular request for a blog entry ever since!

Again, hope I’m not losing any baker’s cred by posting this, but I know it’ll make a bunch of people happy. Especially Davonna. (Hi Nani!) (more…)

Pecan Pie Cookies

I’ve been a bit conflicted over posting this recipe.

Generally speaking, every recipe I post is something that I’ve either developed completely from scratch, or made as a “Frankenstein” recipe, utilizing bits and pieces of ingredients and techniques of several recipes – like my Jamaican Beef Patties recipe.

This recipe? I’ve had it for years, but I now have NO idea where it came from. I’m pretty sure it came from one of the posters on a cake forum I used to frequent, but who specifically, or where SHE got it from? No idea. It looks like it’s since become a popular recipe out there on the interwebs, though!

Anyway – way back when – I asked for permission to use this recipe as a holiday offering through Celebration Generation… and the cookies always got rave reviews. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked for the recipe! What with the weather cooling down, I figure it’s cookie making season, and time to share it!

I have not contributed any major changes to the recipe, but I like to add a couple pinches of spice to the filling, as noted. Hope I’m not losing any baker’s cred by posting this, but I know it’ll make a bunch of people happy. Plus, I think the photos are just too pretty to NOT share.

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Easy to Make Strawberry Macarons

Feeling inspired by yesterday’s “The Easy Way to Make Macarons” blog post and recipe? Good! Here’s a second one!

If you haven’t read that entry yet, please read it before making this recipe. It goes over some good macaron making theory and ideology that you’ll want to absorb before making these. This is another recipe for “rustic” French Macarons!

Like yesterday’s Pistachio Macarons recipe, this recipe will produce extremely rich and flavorful macarons. They will pretty much punch you in the face with strawberry flavor, thanks to the use of powdered strawberries – which is my new favorite baking ingredient!

The strawberry flavor on these French Macarons is amazing! So sunny and fruity – the strawberry powder is an incredibly potent ingredient to add to your arsenal. Love it!

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The Easy Way to Make Macarons. (Pistachio Macaron Recipe!)

Ah, macarons!

As someone who has a hard time going gluten free, no matter how much my body hates wheat… French macarons have been a lifesaver of a gluten free treat for me.

I’ve never been able to get on the fake flour bandwagon, and definitely prefer things where gluten free is the default – not something that makes use of substitute flours, guar gum, or whatever to *approximate* whatever it is that the recipe was aiming for. Yes, I am a gluten free snob!

For anyone who’s ever looked online to figure out how to make your own macarons, it can be a scary thing.

Start working on the cookies 3+ days before you want to serve them. Leave egg whites out on the kitchen table for 3 days to “age” (Um.. Gross). Grind your own nuts. Weigh each ingredient carefully. Sift everything multiple times. Make sure the temperature and humidity outside falls within a very specific range. Baby the meringue. Babysit the cookies. Follow a huge list of instructions and “rules”, or expect certain failure.

Oh, and if your cookies are cracked, lack “feet”, aren’t perfectly round, perfectly smooth, or perfectly… perfect? Well then you just fail as a wife, mother, friend, hostess, and human being. The macaron god obviously hates you.*

At a retail price of $1.50+ per cookie though… ouch. Kinda leaves you stuck between a rock and a macaron-less hard place, huh?

So, I’m pleased to say that I’ve developed an easy, fool proof way to make perfect macarons. Obscenely delicious macarons! Oh, and I can sum the whole technique up in one word! (more…)

Mini “Baked Minnesotas” Recipe!

Well, it looks like I’m getting dragged to the Minnesota State Fair after all. It’s been a few years – but not long enough! LOL. Hot temps + tons of people + tons of noise + obnoxious smell of grease everywhere… not my bag, I hate to say. Back in 2009, I struck a deal with my husband that resulted in a couple years of not having to go – and in the creation of “beer battered corn on the cob.. on a stick”. Well, I don’t have the kitchen or the brainpower to come up with a deal this year, so… we’re going! LOL

Around the time of the fair, Minnesotans really focus on new, unique foods. Yes, a lot of the time this means just “X Food… ON A STICK”, but, still. It’s sometimes fun to hear of the creative ways that vendors are coming up with ways to either add calories, put it on a stick, or Minnesota-it-up with various foods. Hell, even Caprese salad can be “Minnesota’d up”, as long as you serve it on a bed of wild rice! (?)

A couple years ago, I decided to “Minnesota-up” an old fashioned dessert – the Baked Alaska. There is a HUGE emphasis on camping, camp fires, etc here – moreso than anywhere I’ve ever lived – so I decided to do a Smores themed version. Custom designed a base – a graham cracker flavored cookie – and went from there. These are individual sized servings – smaller than a normal baked Alaska.

The result was awesome. So much fun, and perfect for this coming long weekend!

Enjoy, and have a great labor day weekend!

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Limoncello Madeleines

Madeleines are a traditional tea cake – almost a cookie – from northeastern France. While there are several different variants of flavor for the cakes, one thing is pretty much constant – the shape. Madeleines are baked using a special pan with shallow, shell shaped indentations. Very pretty! Madeleine pans can be purchased at many department and home goods stores, or online.

Traditional Madeleines are great as is… but the addition of a citrusy liqueur kicks it up a notch. If Limoncello isn’t your thing, try this with Grand Marnier, even Triple Sec for a new take on a classic! Alternatively, try omitting the zest and liqueur, and using 1-2 tsp of homemade flavor extract. Such a simple, elegant treat… but the possibilities are endless!

The recipe is one of over 165 delicious dessert recipes featured in our first cookbook, “The Spirited Baker“.
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Chewy Black Forest Cookie Recipe

Remember last week when I promised a week of cookie recipes, and then … got distracted?

Well, it’s not a week worth of cookie recipes, but it’s an AWESOME cookie recipe, so I hope you enjoy it! This is my chewy black forest cookie recipe, which was a very popular item on my former holiday menus, and for gift orders. Gooey, chewy chocolate cookie with chunks of maraschino cherries and a white chocolate drizzle… what else is there to say?

Not much… so here’s the recipe!

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Chewy Chocolate Mint Chip Cookie Recipe

46 days. A month and a half. 6.5 weeks… this is how long we’ve been without a kitchen – since the North Minneapolis tornado smashed our house. Having never had to deal with renovations before, I’m constantly amazed at how long things are taking!

It’s coming along – we have a new ceiling and walls in there now – just one more mud/tape and some sanding, and then they’ll be ready for paint/etc. Then we should have our new floor by the end of this week, maybe early next week. After almost 7 weeks of drama, it sounds like we’ll finally have our walnut tree hauled out of the yard and off to the mill sometime today – YES! That’ll be a huge relief – I’ve been terrified that we’d end up losing it to rot, insects, or whatever. That would be absolutely devastating, for the loss of that gorgeous tree to be a complete waste. So… keep your fingers crossed that today is the day!

Ah, yeah… kitchen. So now that we’re finally seeing progress – and are thoroughly sick of eating restaurant and convenience foods – I’ve been thinking: What should our first meal from the new kitchen be? Should we go fancy and celebratory? Something simple, as to not mess up our pristine new kitchen? Go the other way, and do something super complicated that uses a ton of dishes, just because I can? Comfort food?

So – like I tend to do – I took to Twitter and Facebook to ask what YOU would do. If you were to go 2+ months without a kitchen, what would you cook as your first meal back? The most popular answer by far? COOKIES.

Me, I’m sorta leaning towards a roast turkey, with all the trimmings. It’s mostly healthy, definitely comfort food… and it’s the sort of home cooking that’s impossible to replicate with any restaurant meal. Salty, crispy skin… MMMmmm…

But…you guys want cookies! I happen to have photos of a lot of my cookie recipes, and no ability to make/photograph anything more seasonally appropriate quite yet.. so let’s have a week of cookie recipes!

This recipe was always popular when I’d make it personally for Christmas gifts, and eventually professionally in my holiday cookie trays. It also formed the basis of the Chewy Mint Chip Cookie Mix, which was a popular flavor before I discontinued the non-caffeinated mix flavors. It’s fudgy, soft, chewy, and rich… SO tasty.

Enjoy!

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