Clever Cookies

It’s cookie time and we thought it would be refreshing to spice up the cookie tin this year. We’ve tweaked some classics and thought we’d share our twists on the traditional: Cherry pine nut cookies, honey ginger cookies and Mexican chocolate butter cookies.

Cherry Pine Nut Cookies
For this recipe we have taken the classic Italian pignoli cookie and given it a flicker of tangy fruit to play off of the sweet and nutty flavors. Note that these cookies are not only maddeningly addictive, but they use no flour and are a fantastic gluten-free cookie.

16 ounces almond paste, coarsely crumbled (see note below)
1 cup Sucanat (read more about natural sweeteners)
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 cup pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Put almond paste in a food processor and pulse until broken up into small bits, then add Sucanat and salt and pulse for one minute or until finely ground.

2. Transfer almond mixture to large bowl and add cherries, egg whites, and honey. Beat with an electric mixer at medium-high until smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes.

3. Spoon 1 1/2-inch rounds 1 inch apart onto baking sheets, lined with parchment. Press pine nuts into tops of cookies.

4. Bake cookies until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. A good trick with these is to switch the baking sheet from the upper to lower third of oven, halfway through baking.

5. Slide parchment with cookies onto racks to cool completely, then remove cookies from parchment.

Note: Almond paste can be found in some supermarkets, can be ordered on-line, or easily made from scratch. Grind 1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds in a food processor to a fine powder (about 2 minutes), blend in 1 cup of Sucanat until well-blended. Transfer to a bowl and stir in ¼ cup egg whites until smooth. Roll into a log, wrap in parchment paper and chill for 1 hour.

Honey Ginger Cookies
These ginger cookies are almost like the traditional, but we have tamed the molasses with honey and amped up the spices—and as always, have replaced refined sugar with a wholesome alternative. If you are baking these with little mouths in mind, you may want to adjust the spices.

1 cup organic butter
1 cup maple sugar (read more about natural sweeteners)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
2 egg yolks
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Mix together butter, maple sugar, molasses, and honey with an electric mixer until combined, mix in egg yolks.

2. Sift together the dry ingredients and mix into the butter mixture until dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic and chill well, at least one hour.

3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until they are firm, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Mexican Chocolate Butter Cookies
Inspired by Cooks Illustrated
Cinnamon and cayenne pepper give these lively chocolate butter cookies a potent zing, while the coffee kicks up the chocolate flavor a notch. For the less adventurous cookie-lover, you can simple omit the cayenne.

2 ½ sticks unsalted organic butter, room temperature
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
1 cup Sucanat (read more about natural sweeteners)
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and add cocoa and espresso powder, stir until mixture forms a paste and remove to cool.

2. In large bowl, mix remaining butter, Sucanat, salt and cocoa mixture with a mixer on high-speed until fluffy and well combined.

3. Add yolks and vanilla and mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add flour in three batches, making sure it is thoroughly incorporated between adding the next batch.

4. Mix until dough forms a ball, then remove dough to counter and divide into three parts. 5. Roll into a 2-inch by 12-inch log, wrap in parchment, and chill until firm, about an hour.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chilled dough. If you want to garnish the edge, roll the log in crushed nuts. Slice log into ¼ inch rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

7. Bake until cookies off a slight resistance when touched—do not cook so long that edges start to darken.

8. Remove from oven, let cool for five minutes, then remove from baking sheet to rack and let cool completely.

By Melissa Breyer, Producer, Care2 Green Living


W. C
W. C5 months ago


William C
William C5 months ago

Thank you.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Fabulous recipes. The cookies looks tempting and mouth-watering. Thanks for sharing.