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I love cookies. They can be elegant or rustic. They come in bars, or drops, or thin little slices. You can make decorative cookies in all different shapes. I even have a unicorn cookie cutter. Cookies can be iced or sandwiched or just plain. They can be crisp or gooey. Cookies are the perfect food. Over at Street Prophets we give cookies rather then tips.

Cookies are one of our oldest foods, as ancestors 10,000 years ago would drop a mixture of grains and water onto hot rocks. As ships sailed out exploring they always had a supply of hard cookies or biscuits. The elves in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings had their version called lembas. Terry Pratchett had a version of dwarf bread that could be used as a weapon.

In the Middle East cooks started lightening the recipe with cream, butter and eggs and using honey and fruits to sweeten them. These are more like what we call cookies today. The Persian Empire had these treats during the seventh century. With the Crusades and the invasion of Spain and the developing spice trade Arabic cooking was introduced to Northern Europe.

During the Renaissance cookies had become popular and by the seventeenth century they were commonplace. With the advent of self regulating ovens in the 1900’s the number of cookie recipes exploded.

The fancy shaped cookies that are popular at Christmas are believed to originate in Medieval Germany. Today lebkuchen, spritz, fattigman and Pfeffernüesse are still popular cookies. Cookies are now made around the world. The Chinese Moon Cakes are part of the Moon Festival. One of the joys in eating at a Chinese restaurant is the fortune cookies. Mexican Wedding Cookies are very popular. Biscotti are a very popular Italian cookie.

There are several different types of cookie used around the world. One of the most common forms is drop cookies where the dough is just dropped by the teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Refrigerator cookies are rolled usually in a log and chilled and then sliced and baked. Molded cookies are usually rolled into a ball and sometimes flattened. Bar cookies are made in a pan and then cut into bars after cooking. Rolled cookies are popular around Christmas where the dough is rolled out and then cut with various shaped cookie cutters. Pressed cookies are pushed through a cookie press into various designs.

So that is a quick tour around the world of cookies. Last night I was hungry for peanut butter cookies and had to make some. Here is that recipe and some more cookie recipes I have come up with over the years.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies: 90    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------       ------------          --------------------------------
1              cup                   packed brown sugar
1              cup                   mashed bananas
½             cup                   granulated sugar
½             cup                   butter -- softened
½             cup                   shortening -- softened
1              teaspoon          baking powder
1              whole               egg
1              teaspoon          ground cinnamon
¼             teaspoon          ground nutmeg
12            ounces             semisweet chocolate chips
3½           cups                 all-purpose flour
1              teaspoon          vanilla extract
¼             teaspoon          salt

Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl mix brown sugar, sugar, bananas, butter, vanilla extract, shortening and egg together until light and fluffy.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together. Add to wet mixture and mix thoroughly. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes and just starting to brown.

Cool 1 to 2 minutes on cookie sheet and then remove to racks.

Makes 90 small cookies.

Per Serving (3 cookies): 215 Calories; 10g Fat (41.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 15mg Cholesterol; 72mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Birthday Cookies
Cookies: 64    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------       ------------          --------------------------------
14            ounces              low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1              whole                egg white
14            ounces              coconut flakes
6              ounces              white chocolate chips
1              teaspoon           vanilla extract
⅔             cup                    all-purpose flour
½             teaspoon           baking powder
¼             cup                    walnuts -- finely diced
5              ounces              maraschino cherries -- reserve juice
½             cup                    rainbow candied sprinkles
3              tablespoons       chocolate candied sprinkles
½             cup                    cherry juice

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cut cherries into approximately 8 pieces and set aside.

Mix milk, egg white, coconut, white chocolate chips, vanilla, flour, baking powder, walnuts, cherry juice and rainbow sprinkles together until well mixed.

Drop mixture by heaping teaspoonful onto a greased baking sheet. Put a few of the chocolate sprinkles on top of cookie and place a cherry piece on top of the chocolates.

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on a baking rack.

Per Cookie: 76 Calories; 4g Fat (41.7% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Candied Fruit Cookies
Cookies: 40    

Amount     Measure                Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                --------------------------------
½               cup                        honey
½               cup                        molasses
½               cup                        dark brown sugar -- packed
1                whole                     egg
1                teaspoon                baking powder
½               teaspoon                baking soda
½               teaspoon                ground ginger
½               teaspoon                ground cardamom
1                teaspoon                ground cinnamon
½               teaspoon                ground cloves
½               teaspoon                ground allspice
½               cup                         walnuts -- diced
1                cup                         candied fruit
3                cups                       all-purpose flour
½               teaspoon                ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375º.

Mix honey, molasses and brown sugar together until creamy.

Add egg and mix well.

Add the flour and spices and mix well.

Add nuts and candied fruit and mix until well distributed.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.

Bake for 11 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Per Cookie: 88 Calories; 1g Fat (11.4% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 5mg Cholesterol; 36mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies: 48    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------              --------------------------------
2¼            cups                     all-purpose flour
1                teaspoon             baking soda
½               teaspoon             salt
1                cup                      butter -- softened
½               cup                      granulated sugar
1                cup                      brown sugar, packed
2                teaspoons           vanilla extract -- pure
2                large                    eggs
12              ounces                 semisweet chocolate chips
1                cup                       walnuts -- chopped
1                cup                       maraschino cherries -- chopped

Heat oven to 375º.

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed each time.

Add salt, baking soda and flour and beat until mixed.

Add chocolate chips and cherries and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Per Cookie: 140 Calories; 8g Fat (47.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 19mg Cholesterol; 96mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1½ Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Chewy Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cookies: 60    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------               --------------------------------
1½             cups                     dark brown sugar -- packed
½               cup                       butter -- softened
½               cup                       shortening
2                whole                   eggs
1                cup                       peanut butter, chunky
2                teaspoons            vanilla extract
2½             cups                     all-purpose flour
½               teaspoon              salt
1                teaspoon              baking powder
½               teaspoon              baking soda
2                tablespoons          honey
2                cups                      semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together the butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Mix until combined thoroughly.

Beat in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well.

Beat in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Scoop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes.

Immediately remove to wire rack to cool.

Per Cookie: 126 Calories; 7g Fat (49.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 78mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1½  Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons
Cookies: 65    

Amount     Measure           Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------          --------------------------------
14             ounces              fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1                                         egg white, whole
14             ounces              coconut flakes
6               ounces              semisweet chocolate chips
1               teaspoon           almond extract
⅓              cup                    flour
½              teaspoon           baking powder
1               pinch                  salt
⅛              cup                     slivered almonds

Mix milk, egg white, coconut, chocolate chips, almond extract and flour together.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a well greased baking sheet.  Press slivered almonds into top of cookie.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or until cookie is lightly browned.

Remove from sheet immediately and cool on a rack or waxed paper.

Per Cookie: 63 Calories; 3g Fat (39.9% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 29mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars
Cookies: 24    

Amount     Measure             Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------            --------------------------------
¾               cup                     butter -- softened
¾               cup                     peanut butter, chunky
1                cup                     dark brown sugar -- packed
3                large                   eggs -- room temperature
1                teaspoon             vanilla extract -- pure
1                teaspoon             almond extract -- pure
2½             cups                    flour, all-purpose
1                teaspoon             baking soda
12              ounces                semisweet chocolate chips
1                tablespoon          molasses
½               teaspoon             nutmeg
1                teaspoon             cinnamon
½               teaspoon             ginger
                                              vegetable oil spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, almond, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and molasses until light and fluffy.

Add baking soda and flour. Mix until well blended. The dough will be stiff.

Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Spray a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Spread dough evenly.

Bake in a 350°F for 20-22 minutes.

Cut into 24 squares. Store at room temperature in an air tight container.

Per Cookie: 261 Calories; 15g Fat (48.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 42mg Cholesterol; 165mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); ½ Lean Meat; 2½ Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Chocolate-Raspberry Brownies
Cookies:  32    

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------             --------------------------------
14             ounces                 fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1              stick                     butter
¾               cup                      unsweetened cocoa powder
2                teaspoons           baking powder
2                teaspoons           baking soda
½               teaspoon             salt
2                whole                  eggs
½               cup                      brown sugar, packed
2                teaspoons           vanilla extract
1⅓             cups                    all-purpose flour
½               cup                      raspberry jelly -- I use Smucker's Spreadable Fruit
1                tablespoon           butter

Cream milk, eggs, stick of butter and brown sugar together.

Add cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to wet mixture. Blend well.

Add vanilla extract and blend well.

Grease a 13x9x2 pan with the tablespoon of butter. Pour half of the batter into pan. Spread with the raspberry fruit. Spread the rest of the batter on top.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until done.

Per Cookie: 106 Calories; 2g Fat (20.0% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 18mg Cholesterol; 181mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; ½ Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Daddy's Pfeffernüesse
Cookies: 90    

Amount     Measure            Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------           --------------------------------
½               cup                   dark molasses
¼               cup                   honey
½               cup                    butter
2                whole                eggs -- beaten
4                cups                  all-purpose flour
½               cup                    granulated sugar
½               cup                    dark brown sugar
½               teaspoon           baking soda
½               teaspoon           baking powder
1½             teaspoons         cinnamon
½               teaspoon           ground cloves
½               teaspoon           nutmeg
½               teaspoon           ground black pepper
¼               teaspoon           salt
½               teaspoon           anise seed -- ground
½               teaspoon           ginger
½               teaspoon           ground allspice
½               teaspoon           ground cardamom
1                cup                    confectioner's sugar -- sifted

In saucepan combine molasses, honey and butter. Cook and stir until butter melts. Cool to room temperature.

Stir in eggs.

Sift together all the dry ingredients except the confectioner's sugar. Add to molasses mixture; mix well.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Shape chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Baked on greased cookie sheet for 12 minutes.

Cool; roll in confectioner's sugar.

Per Serving (3 cookies): 159 Calories; 4g Fat (20.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 87mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; ½ Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Cookies: 24    

Amount     Measure          Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------         --------------------------------
8                ounces            whipped cream cheese -- softened
¾               cup                  butter -- softened
1                cup                  sugar
2                whole               eggs
1                teaspoon          vanilla extract
1¼             cups                 flour
½               teaspoon          baking soda
½               teaspoon          salt
12              ounces             white chocolate chips
12              ounces             semisweet chocolate chips
                                           Baker's Joy Spray or other oil and flour spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix cream cheese, butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and again mix until well blended.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to cream cheese mixture and mix well.

Add white chocolate chips and mix together.

Spray a 13x9x2 inch pan and spread half of the mixture into the pan smoothing it even.

Evenly spread the semisweet chocolate chips over the mixture. Top with remaining mixture and smooth it out.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Per Cookie: 294 Calories; 18g Fat (53.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 44mg Cholesterol; 195mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); ½ Lean Meat; 3 ½ Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Holiday Sugar Cookies
Cookies: 36    

Amount     Measure               Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------               --------------------------------
⅓               cup                       butter -- softened
⅓               cup                       shortening
2                cups                     flour, all-purpose
1                whole                   egg -- room temperature
¾               cup                       sugar
1                tablespoon           milk, 2% low fat
1                teaspoon              baking powder
1                teaspoon              vanilla extract -- or other flavored extract
1                dash                     salt
5                drops                    food coloring
3                tablespoons          sugar -- decorative

Beat egg, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add ¾ cup sugar, milk, baking powder, extract, salt and food coloring. Mix thoroughly.

Add half of the flour. Mix thoroughly. Add rest of flour.

Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 3 hours.

On lightly floured surface roll half of the dough into ⅛ inch thickness. Cut out with a shaped cookie cutter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Duplicate with remaining dough.

Bake at 375°F for 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool cookies on a rack.

NOTES: This recipe can be adapted to all seasons. St. Patrick's day use mint extract and green food color and decorating sugar. For Christmas use peppermint extract and red and green food coloring and decorating sugars. You can use orange extract and yellow and red food coloring and decorating sugars with Halloween cookie cutters.

Try and always use pure extract not imitation for the best taste.

Per Cookie: 80 Calories; 4g Fat (42.7% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 41mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Cookies: 48    

Amount     Measure                 Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                 --------------------------------
½               cup                          butter -- softened
½               cup                          shortening – I used butter flavored
1                cup                          dark brown sugar -- packed
½               cup                          sugar
2                whole                      eggs
1                teaspoon                 vanilla extract -- pure
1½             cups                        all-purpose flour
1                teaspoon                 baking soda
1                teaspoon                 baking powder
½               teaspoon                 salt
1                teaspoon                 cinnamon
½               teaspoon                 nutmeg
¼               teaspoon                 ginger
¼               teaspoon                 cloves
1                cup                          raisins, seedless – I use ½ regular and ½ golden
3                cups                        oats, rolled (raw)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream together butter, shortening, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Add to butter mixture.

Add oats and raisins. Mix together.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on rack.

Per Cookie:108 Calories; 5g Fat (38.0% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 14mg Cholesterol; 84mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

The Nuttiest Peanut Butter Cookies
Cookies: 54    

Amount     Measure                Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------                --------------------------------
½               cup                        sugar
½               cup                        dark brown sugar -- packed
½               cup                        peanut butter, chunky
1                whole                    egg
1¼             cups                      all-purpose flour
¾               teaspoon               baking soda
½               teaspoon                baking powder
1                teaspoon                vanilla extract -- pure
½               cup                         peanuts -- chopped
½               cup                         butter -- room temperature

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add peanut butter and egg. Beat until light and fluffy.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extra, and peanuts. Mix until thoroughly combines.

Refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375°F.

Shape dough into 1¼ inch balls, about the size of a walnut, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake 9 to 10 minutes.

Cool for about a minute on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Per Cookie: 64 Calories; 4g Fat (50.3% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 53mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

The Ultimate Ginger Cookie
Cookies: 60    

Amount     Measure              Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------        ------------             --------------------------------
¾               cup                      butter -- softened
½               cup                      sugar
½               cup                      dark brown sugar -- packed
¼               cup                      molasses
2½             cups                    all-purpose flour
1                whole                  egg
1½             teaspoons           baking soda
2                teaspoons           ground ginger
1                teaspoon             ground cinnamon
½               teaspoon             ground cloves
½               teaspoon             ground nutmeg
½               teaspoon             ground allspice
1                tablespoon          ginger root -- finely minced
¼               teaspoon             salt
1½             ounces                 crystallized ginger -- ground fine
4                tablespoons         sugar

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Stir in the molasses and egg.

Add flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, crystalized ginger, and ginger root.

Shape dough into walnut size balls and roll in sugar. Put on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on rack.

Per Cookie: 64 Calories; 2g Fat (34.2% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium.  Exchanges: ½ Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; ½ Fat; ½ Other Carbohydrates.

Birthday Cookies

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