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Posts Tagged ‘applesauce’

by Sarah Steimer and Caitlin Saniga

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Sarah’s package of cookies to Caitlin included cranberry-pecan shortbreads, apple slice cookies (below the shortbreads, wrapped up), gingerbread anise biscotti (recipe here) and peppermint-chocolate swirl cookies. Sarah also included a few chocolate-covered pretzels (another recipe we posted in the past).

We love making cookies for the holidays and sharing photos and recipes of them on the blog (most notable was our 2010 Holiday Dozen guide). We often email or text each other to rave about how good the other’s photos look, or to say how good our own cookies tasted. On a few very rare occasions, we’ve been able to try each other’s creations. This year, we decided to send cookies directly to one another so we didn’t have to be too jealous when the pictures and recipes hit the Web! 

Below are the recipes for the cookies Sarah sent to Caitlin this year:

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Cranberry-pecan shortbreads

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Sarah: These cookies freeze incredibly well — and they’re the first ones I made this season, so how well they stored was very important.
Caitlin: I enjoyed the toasty, earthy flavors of these cookies. I can picture using raisins and walnuts instead of cranberries and pecans as alternative.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla, mixing until just combined.

Gradually add the flour, salt, cranberries and pecans. Continue to mix until everything is well combined.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces on a clean workspace. Roll each piece into an 8-inch log, and wrap each log in wax paper. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about two hours.

When ready, use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place the disks on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees until the edges are golden, about 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through.

Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

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Apple slice cookies

  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon light cream (as a substitute, I used 1 tablespoon skim milk and added about a 1/2 tablespoon extra butter)
  • 1/3 cup thick applesauce
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Sarah: The cookbook I found this recipe in said it “won an award in 1945,” but gave no details as to why or how. If you’re looking for a mysterious, World War II-era fan favorite, look no further.
Caitlin: I loved these because they remind me of something my Baboo would have made. They’re slightly sweet and not too rich. Delicious!

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the flour and cream (or substitute), mixing well.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll each out to 12-inch logs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Use your finger to make a deep indentation (although all the way to the sheet pan) down the center of each log length. Fill the indentation with the applesauce – you may not use all the applesauce.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookie itself begins to turn golden. The cookies will still feel relatively soft when you remove them from the oven and have flattened out a bit.

While still warm, cut the cookies into 3/4-inch-wide diagonal slices. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Swedish Cakes and Cookies

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Peppermint-chocolate swirl cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk

    Sarah: I love the little flecks of candy in these cookies — but there's a heck of a lot of steps involved in making these.Caitlin:

    Sarah: I love the little flecks of candy in these cookies — but there are a heck of a lot of steps involved in making these.
    Caitlin: I opened the box, and my jaw dropped at the sight of these pinwheels. How pretty! They look and taste perfect.

  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes (use Caitlin’s advice and grab the little candy canes, they’re way easier to crush)

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper, for about two hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature to soften a bit.

Place one half of the dough in a bowl and add the chocolate and vanilla extract. Using your hands, combine the mixture well until the chocolate has been fully incorporated into the dough.

In a separate bowl, combine the second dough half with the egg yolk, peppermint extract and the crushed candy canes. Combine with your hands once again until the candy is well distributed throughout the dough.

Chill both of the doughs in the refrigerator for five minutes. Roll each half out on a clean surface over a sheet of wax paper. Each half should be rolled out to about a 1/4-inch thickness and about the same shape.

Place the sheet of peppermint dough on top of the chocolate dough, removing the peppermint’s wax paper. Press the edges of the dough together. Using the wax paper underneath, roll the dough into a log (working length-wise).

Wrap the log in wax paper and refrigerate for another two hours. Cut the cookies into slices a little thinner than a half inch-thick. Arrange about 1-inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Remove from the oven and let sit on the pan for about 2 minutes before letting fully cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from: Alton Brown via the Food Network

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Caitlin: I was so impressed with Sarah’s cookies! Each variety looked and tasted perfect even after a trip in the mail. And cookies weren’t the only thing I found in my package of goodies. She snuck a few Christmas presents into the box as well, including this Scrabble letters tray with a customized nod to the blog. She also sent a pretty blue and white bowl and a gorgeous bird-themed tea towel — both of which you’re likely to see in blog photos sometime soon.

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by Sarah Steimer

It's amazing how throwing oats on the top of a muffin makes it almost coffee shop-esque. We've learned your tricks, all right.

I am constantly on the lookout for good, healthy breakfast options. I start work very early in the morning and eat breakfast at my desk. This literally may be just what I was looking for. Too bad Bill enjoyed them a lot, too.

ALSO – do not be afraid of this recipe because it doesn’t use “all-purpose flour.” I went to Whole Foods and got just the amount of these flours I needed – for cheap because they offer them in bulk. Find a store that offers bulk products, or look up substitutions!

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini – green or yellow
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour (I used half spelt and half whole wheat pastry flour, as per the original recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds (optional)
  • oatmeal and slivered almonds for the top (optional)

Place shredded squash in a colander to drain while you prep the other ingredients. Just before using, squeeze out any excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix drained squash, sugar, soy flour, canola oil, applesauce and vanilla until moistened. Add other flour and other dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Fold in flax seed.

Fill sprayed/greased muffin tins 2/3 full with batter. Top with the almonds, oatmeal and additional flax, if you so please. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 24 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Makes 18-20 muffins.

Recipe adapted from: The Urban Vegan

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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