Gingerbread Men Cookies

I love Christmas cookies, especially gingerbread cookies. But being Jewish, I’ve never had to do one of those marathon baking sessions…until now. This year, I decided to bake and ship cookies as gifts, and gingerbread men were on the list.

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This recipe is wonderful–it’s easy, the dough rolled out well, and the taste and texture are both fantastic! I’ll be the first to admit that my decorating skills leave a lot to be desired (and may cause nightmares), but that’s part of their charm, right?

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Ingredients
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation
Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Recipe from McCormick.

Sea Salt Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles

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Sea salt + Rolos + snickerdoodle cookies = deliciousness! And when you think about it, how can it possibly not be good? I have to admit, these cookies grew on me–when I tried them right after they cooled, I wasn’t a fan. But the next day, I was all over them!

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They are a bit time consuming because you have to roll the dough into a ball around the Rolo, but if you’re a chocolate and caramel fan, it’s worth the work!

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Ingredients
1/4 cup granulated sugar, for cinnamon-sugar topping
1 tablespoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 packages of Rolo chocolate-caramel candies (about 35)
Coarse sea salt

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. For the cinnamon-sugar mixture, combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt into mixing bowl. With mixer on low, mix until thoroughly combined. Working 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into balls, placing a single Rolo inside each ball of dough. Roll dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies should look raw between the cracks and seem underdone. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from The Comfort of Cooking.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Leave it to me to get bronchitis in June. Not only was I incredibly sick and living on matzo ball soup and hot tea for two weeks, I wasn’t baking and had to miss two birthday parties and a wedding. Not fun! But the minute I started feeling better, I found myself in the kitchen whipping up these easy and delicious cookies.

Cooling

Chocolate chips, caramel pieces, and sea salt–what better combination is there? None, at least in my opinion! Plus, they’re soft and chewy, which is the perfect texture for a chocolate chip cookie. I made the mistake of using the Kraft caramel bits which I had forgotten don’t melt very well in cookies, so when you make these, buy the individually wrapped caramels and cut them into pieces. It’s more work, but will be worth it for the gooey caramel factor!

Ingredients
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
sea salt

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (may take a couple minutes of stirring). Fold in the chocolate chips (do not add the caramels yet). Do not overmix.

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes (or up to 5 days) in the refrigerator. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. (Keep dough refrigerated between baking batches.) Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. The centers should appear very soft and puffy. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt while they are warm. Let cool completely.

Recipe from Culinary Chat.

Chocolate-Speckled Salted Shortbread

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I know, you’re probably thinking, another sweet and salty recipe? It’s fine, you can call me obsessed, I’ll own it. The combination just works!

These are great cookies–easy to make, easy to cut, and just the right chewy texture on the inside. While the original recipe calls for cutting the dough into 1″x2″ strips, I couldn’t resist using one of my cookie cutters that hasn’t seen the light of day lately. Plus, they’re fun!

Chocolate-Speckled Salted Shortbread

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 & 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 ounces dark chocolate, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon water, if necessary
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, such as fleur de sel

Preparation
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour and salt, mixing just until combined. Stir in chocolate.

Dough will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched. If dough is not holding together, mix in 1 tablespoon water.

Form dough into 2 balls and flatten into discs. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into 1″x 2″ strips. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake 18-22 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans for 10 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Repeat rolling and baking process with other disc of dough.

Recipe from Bake or Break.

Sugar Cookie Bars

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I love sugar cookies, but rolling out, cutting dough, and decorating individual cookies can be time consuming and messy. Behold–sugar cookie bars! Since they’re baked in a 9×13 baking dish, all you have to do is press the dough down, bake, and frost. Easy peasy, plus there are no special ingredients so no extra trip the grocery store needed!

Sugar Cookie Bars

These cookies are buttery, soft, and chewy, just how sugar cookies should be. If you’re looking for a quick and delicious sugar cookie, give this recipe a try.

Sugar Cookie Bars

Ingredients
Bars
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to cool room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles (optional)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press and/or spread the sugar cookie mixture gently into an even layer into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 10-13 minutes. The bars shouldn’t have any color around the edges and barely be set in the middle. Let the bars cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth (if the mixture has trouble coming together, add a drop or two of milk). Add in the vanilla and mix. Add the milk or cream and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired.

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

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