Tag Archives: Cookies

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star! (Cookies)

“…As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” – The Star, by Jane Taylor, in Rhymes for the Nursery, 1806

Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters
Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters

Yesterday, my friend Carole and I baked cookies…

…for next Saturday’s Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD) public meeting at the San Diego Central Library Auditorium.

We are on the Hospitality Committee (actually, currently we ARE the Hospitality Committee, but would welcome others, too!), so, most months of the year, Carole and I enjoy coming up with something related to the meeting’s topic. To launch 2016, Richard Foss is presenting “From Tubes and Cubes to Space Espresso: Dining in Zero Gravity.”

Carole has ordered some Tang, a drink used by some of the earlier manned space flights, to augment our usual drinks line-up. We’ll also have some Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers for those who like something savory. But, for a Saturday morning, I think something a little sweet is also a must with the standard coffee and teas. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my collection of astronomical cookie cutters.

“Look into the Night Sky” 

Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar
Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar

The night before, I made up a double batch of King Arthur Flour’s Holiday Butter Cookies. It’s a simple but delicious recipe, especially when flavored with Fiori di Sicilia, a heavenly marriage of citrus and vanilla, the signature flavor of Italian panettone.  

For any roll and cut out cookie, the dough needs to thoroughly chilled. 

The real work was going to be the rolling out, cutting, and topping.

Frosted Star Cookies
Frosted Star Cookies

The quartz countertop on our kitchen island is perfect for this: plenty of space, easy to clean, and cool. Besides, it’s black with sparkles in it, just like the twinkling of stars, and always makes me feel like I am looking into the night sky.

Many of the cookies we topped with sparkling sugar. Others, we tried our hand at  drizzling on frosting, highlighting a little yellow on the moon, streaking the tale of the comet with blue.

When I despaired my lack of artistic precision, Carole (ever the supportive partner) pointed out that there is often risk of a little damage at the end of a mission, during atmospheric reentry, coming back down to earth.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Crowded Cookies (Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip)

Crowded Cookies - Oatmeal, Pecans, Chocolate Chips, and Raisins
Crowded Cookies – Oatmeal, Pecans, Chocolate Chips, and Raisins


Yields about 30 3-inch cookies
Based originally on Merrie Wold’s Best Oatmeal Cookies.

3 eggs, well-beaten

1/2 cup organic raisins, for example, Red Flame or Thompson

1/2 cup freeze-dried organic blueberries or cranberries or a combination

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Vegan Baking Sticks or butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup coconut palm sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup organic chocolate chips: dark chocolate, white chocolate,  semi-sweet chocolate, or a combination

1 cup pecan or walnut halves

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the raisins and blueberries and cranberries (if using), plus the vanilla. Let stand for 1 hour. Take out vegan sticks or butter to soften while waiting.

2 – Preheat convection oven to 350˚F or regular oven to 375˚F.

3 – In separate bowl, whisk together these dry ingredients to blend them thoroughly: flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon.

3 – In another large bowl, use a handheld or stand mixer to cream together butter/baking sticks with both sugars, until thoroughly combined and fluffy.

4 – Stir egg mixture into creamed sugars.

5 – Add the flour mixture to the creamed sugars, a little at a time to blend well. Dough will be thick.

6 – Mix in oatmeal, chocolate chips, and pecans.

7 – Using a 2-inch scoop or two large spoons, form 2-inch balls. Place 12 to a large ungreased cookie sheet, baking one sheet at a time. While one sheet is baking, keep the rest of the dough cool in the refrigerator. When one sheet comes out, put the next one in.

8 – Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until outside rim of cookies are beginning to crisp and starting to turn golden.

9 – Remove cookie sheet from oven and leave cookies untouched on the pan for 5 minutes so that they set. Using a spatula or pancake turner, carefully remove each cookie from sheet and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. If required, store in an airtight container or freeze.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Classical Chocolate Chip Cookies – Tweaked

Classical Chocolate Chip Cookies - Tweaked
Classical Chocolate Chip Cookies – Tweaked



Yield – About 3 dozen 2-inch cookies.
Allow at least 5 hours before baking, ideally overnight, in the freezer.

  • 2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon espresso powder or 1 tube Starbucks Via Ready Brew Italian Roast Decaf
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated coconut palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups organic dark chocolate chips, at least 65% cocoa solids (fair trade, if available)
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon Flaked Sea Salt

 Preparation (Chef's hat)


1 – In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, kosher salt and espresso powder/coffee powder to mix well.

2 – In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing on a towel, if using a handheld mixer), use the paddle attachment on slow, then medium speed, to cream the butter, coconut palm sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together until smooth and fluffy.

3 – Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing in thoroughly before adding in the next.

4 – Starting on low speed (to avoid blowing the flour around the kitchen), add in the flour mixture, gradually increasing the speed until just combined.

5 – Mix in the chocolate chips, the nuts, and the flaked salt.

6 – Divide the dough into thirds. Using 3 half-sheet pan size parchment paper, roll 3 logs, twisting the ends to seal up.

7 – Freeze cookie rolls for at least 5 hours, ideally overnight, or up to a month. Keep in freezer until ready to bake.

8 – Preheat oven to 375˚ F.

9 – Remove one cookie roll at a time and unwrap. Using a sharp chef’s knife or serrated bread knife, cut 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices and arrange on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.

9 – Bake in oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until set around edges, but not burnt.

10 – Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a rack. Store in airtight container, if not consumed immediately.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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