Cookie Time


     It’s peak season for cookie baking with cookie swaps, class parties, holiday open houses, church choir receptions, homemade hostess gifts, and guests to feed. Need we say more? We’ve gathered a few recipes that check all the boxes, from simple to fancier—we’ve even thrown in a no-bake cookie the kids will love!



Four simple ingredients make Clevelander Blair Ladner’s peanut butter cookies a breeze to throw together in a pinch. Plus with no flour, they are gluten-free.

1 cup peanut butter*
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
extra sugar for sprinkling

* If using natural peanut butter, add ¼ teaspoon of salt and use two eggs instead of one.

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

     Mix together and shape into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment paper and press with a fork making a criss-cross. Sprinkle dough with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes.

     Remove from oven, sprinkle with more sugar if desired, and place on wire rack to cool.

     Makes about 24 cookies, depending on size.



Espresso powder enhances the chocolaty richness of these festive cookies. Serve with cold milk or warm hot chocolate for an extra chocolate punch!

1¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, packed (dark or light)
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Crisco
cup crushed candy canes for garnish
Christmas baking sprinkles

     Combine dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend and set aside.

     In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate chips and butter. Stir until ingredients are just melted, not allowing chocolate to burn. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts, and set aside.

     Using a stand mixer, blend the eggs and sugars for 3 to 4 minutes or until thick and pale in color. Pour in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture and stir until well combined.

     Add in the flour mixture and fold until combined, scraping down sides, but avoid overmixing. Dough will have a shiny consistency and will need to be chilled in fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes so batter can thicken. This helps prevent cookies from spreading too much.

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees while dough chills. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

     Scoop out batter using a spoon or scoop, keeping cookies even in size, and place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

     Melt white chocolate chips and Crisco in a microwaveable-safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth.

     Dip one side of the baked cookies into the white chocolate and add crushed peppermint candies and Christmas sprinkles to decorate.

     Makes 20 to 25 medium-size cookies.



Brown butter gives these cookies a rich, toasty, nutty flavor that is definitely worth the extra steps. These are a special treat—delicious on their own or paired with boiled custard for a holiday dessert.

1¼ cup pecan halves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, melted until browned
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
additional pecan halves for decoration, optional

     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

     Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped pecans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside. In a separate bowl, add flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; use a whisk to combine then set aside until needed.

     In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, allowing to cook, swirling the pan occasionally. Monitor this process closely, making sure not to burn the butter! The top of the butter will become foamy, and it will begin to make tiny popping noises. As it browns, the butter will have a slightly nutty aroma, and will develop a rich amber color, with tiny brown bits at the bottom. Once the butter reaches this stage, remove from heat immediately and pour into a large mixing bowl.

     Add both sugars into the mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Next, stir in vanilla, and add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating until eggs are just combined.

     Fold in the flour using a rubber spatula, stirring until just combined. Lastly, fold in the buttered pecans. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

     When ready to bake, scoop out approximately 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place onto baking sheets, leaving ample space between each ball for spreading. If desired, press a pecan half on top of each ball of cookie dough. 

     Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 11 minutes, making sure not to overbake. Sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar when removed from oven. Allow cookies to cool and set up on the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. 

     Makes about 24 cookies, depending on size.



What could be better than a no-bake cookie? Super chocolatey, these are a favorite with the kids—perfect for class parties and cookie swaps.

½ cup salted butter
1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups quick oats (not old-fashioned)

     Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

     In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and milk over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches a full boil. Allow mixture to boil 60 seconds without stirring. 

     Remove from heat and add in vanilla, peanut butter, and quick oats. Stir mixture until well combined. Using a medium cookie scoop or serving spoon, drop mixture onto baking sheets. If mixture is not firm enough, allow to sit in pan for a few minutes before scooping out.

     Allow to rest at room temperature until firm and set, about 20 to 30 minutes. To speed up setting, refrigerate. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

     Makes about 30 cookies, depending on size.



The goodness of pumpkin bread, but in cookie form. Perfect with a warm cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk for an afternoon snack. Tuck into lunch boxes—or even sneak a few for breakfast!

½ cup melted butter, slightly cooled
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white granulated sugar
cup pumpkin puree, drained and blotted (See tip below.)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
4 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
additional white chocolate chips for topping

TIP: Before getting started, place canned pumpkin in a strainer and allow to sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Some of the moisture will drip out. Then take paper towels and gently blot out some of the excess moisture in the pumpkin. You don’t have to get all of the moisture since we still want the pumpkin flavor in the cookies, but removing some will help with the consistency. Measure out ⅓ cup pumpkin after moisture is removed.

     Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.

     In a medium-sized bowl, blend together melted butter, brown and white sugars, pumpkin, egg. and vanilla extract.

     Place next 7 dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking together to blend well. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips. Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.

     When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

     Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for rolling dough. Scoop out dough, forming 1˝ to 1½˝ balls. Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Arrange the dough balls on baking sheets, spacing out three across and pressing down to flatten slightly.

     Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and beginning to brown. Cookies will be cakey and very soft when you take them out. While they are still warm, sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon sugar and top with more white chocolate chips, if desired.

     Allow cookies to set up on cookie sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

     Makes about 20 cookies, depending on size.


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