Friday Food: Cookies Anytime

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Our hunt for a food editor continues. Michelle Lin is an avid baker and super crafty (you'll see a sample of her work in this post)--two talents I greatly admire. So for you sweet lovers, we present: Cookies Anytime!

I love cookies. Who doesn't? I often see those "break & bake" packages of refrigerated cookie dough at the grocery store, and every once in a while, I give in to the temptation of freshly baked cookies and buy them. They're certainly convenient, but that habit gets expensive, not to mention that those cookies have a lot of weird artificial ingredients in them. Since most cookie doughs freeze beautifully, I had an "ah-ha" moment: Wouldn't it be super simple to make my own version!

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All you really need is your favorite recipe, a cookie scoop and some freezer space! If you don'??t own a cookie scoop, I highly recommend getting one if you bake cookies even semi-regularly. You can pick one up just about anywhere nowadays, and they run anywhere from a few dollars for a plastic one, to $15+ for a stainless steel one from a gourmet store. Besides being faster and less messy to use than spoons, it also makes for more uniformly-sized cookies that in turn, bake more evenly.

Here is my own recipe for what we refer to in our family as "Kitchen Sink Cookies." We call them that because they have just about anything you can think of that goes in a cookie - nuts, chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and even rice krispies! This recipe gave me the idea to freeze pre-scooped dough because it made SO many cookies that we couldn't possibly eat them all!

Ingredients
1 c. brown sugar, packed
¾ c. granulated sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. rolled oats
1 c. sweetened flake coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
2 c. (one 12 oz. pkg) chocolate chips or chunks
1 ½ c. rice krispies


Directions:
1. In a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light. With mixer running, slowly add vegetable oil.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each. Add vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda, baking powder & flour. Add to sugar mixture in 2 parts, mixing until just combined.
4. One at a time, add rolled oats, coconut, pecans & chocolate chips, mixing on low after each ingredient, until just combined.
5. Stir in rice krispies by hand.
6. Refrigerate dough until it firms up a bit, about 30-60 minutes. If you bake them right away, they have a tendency to spread too much and lose their chewiness. Try not to let it chill too much longer than that as the dough will be rock hard and difficult to scoop.
7. Scoop into little balls, preferably with a small cookie scoop. Or use a large tablespoon and roll into balls.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time, until edges are just brown. Do not overbake.

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9. Cool on a rack.

Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies.

The best way to prepare these for the freezer is to put the scooped balls in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil. Place them in your freezer for 4-6 hours or until completely frozen. Once they are frozen, you can put them in a ziploc bag. It's ok if some of them are stuck together. You should be able to break them apart before baking.

You can bake the dough balls straight from the freezer, but they may not spread as much, so if you prefer a thinner cookie, place them on a cookie sheet and let them defrost for 10-15 minutes before baking.

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The great thing about freezing your own homemade cookie dough is that, besides the fact that you know exactly what's in them, you only bake what you want to eat! I'll often bake a half dozen cookies as a treat for the 3 of us, and this way there's no temptation to eat just one or two extra. I pretty much always have these on hand and they are also great in a pinch when I have to host a last-minute playdate or need something to bring to a potluck!

Michelle is an avid baker and stay-at-home mom to a vivacious 3-year-old who always keeps her on her toes. Besides cooking & baking, she also loves to sew, knit & crochet. Check out some of her other cooking and crafting endeavors at www.craftyasiangirl.blogspot.com and www.cook-a-book.blogspot.com.

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