Writer.Chef.Romantic.

Hungry Hearts Cookie Recipe Exchange!

In Writer on December 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

hungryhearts banner(STATIC713x316)(1)Welcome to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP! We are so excited to CELEBRATE the holiday season with mouthwatering cookie recipes and delicious EXCERPTS from today’s hottest food-loving ROMANCE writers! Hop around and fill out the Rafflecopter form on each author’s site to enter our GIVEAWAYS: a spectacular mix of Harry & David Truffles, books, gifts cards, and Hungry Hearts author swag! Lots of awesome prizes to win! Links at the bottom of this post!

All this and MORE! We'll add a prize for every 500 entries!

All this and MORE! We’ll add a prize for every 500 entries!

In addition to the HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOP prizes, I’ll be featuring Hungry Hearts authors on my site this week and giving their books away to lucky winners. Stay tuned to get in on the fun! If you’d like to party in real time, please join us on Facebook December 1-7!

When the holiday season arrives, our hearts fill with CHEER. Life is a gift, isn’t it? Hop with us for the chance to win, and share your holiday JOY while we share our favorite COOKIE recipes with you!

ThumbprintI’ve eaten A LOT of cookies in my life. Aside from all the cookies I’ve encountered and devoured in regular life and while working in various restaurants over the years, I worked part-time in a fantastic gourmet bakery for eight years. Even though I never worked in the cookie department, I found plenty of cookies to snitch! We decorated over thirty THOUSAND cut-out cookies every holiday season. Sometimes…the cookies broke and could not be sold. Imagine a pile of cut-out cookies glued together by frosting. It’s about a foot across and six inches tall. Then imagine me taking one home and eating it. At least once a week, for several weeks every year…

And that was just the cut-outs. I also had a weakness for the lemon-pistachio drops…and the orange ricotta cookies. However, they never broke, and they were quite labor intensive, so I rarely swiped them. But the cookie I miss the most is the apricot almond thumbprint. It makes me remember my friend Ned, who was one of the major cookie elves and must have made a zillion of the suckers every year. It’s a pretty cookie, not too sweet, with interesting bits of almond to savor. Of course you can make it with any jam you like, but I have a weakness for apricot. This is not the original recipe, but it’s just as satisfying!

Cookies are comforting…at least to me…and Jack, the hero of INTO THE FIRE, the first book in my Hot Nights series with Entangled Publishing. When the heroine gets the scoop on Jack, she learns he has a thing for cookies…

Into-the-Fire

Available from AMAZON, B&N, iTUNES, GOOGLE, and more

 The older woman nodded. “Long enough to know he’d make a great boss. My husband and I worked together at Breeze, Drew Calabrese’s flagship restaurant. He’s still there, but I was thrilled to follow Jack to Inferno. Jack used to come into the Breeze bakeshop all the time, hiding from his father, not that he ever said that. He would have said it was for the cookies.”

“But you knew better?”

“Honey, everyone knows better. Those two fight like cats and dogs. Well, Drew fights. Jack walls up and turns his fury into food. He’s a tornado on the line. I don’t think he even needs the rest of the guys. When he gets going, he could probably work every station himself. But cover your head and batten down the hatches if you see his father in the kitchen. One of these days, Jack’s going to blow. That’s why I keep the bakeshop well stocked with cookies.” The other woman’s grin turned sly. “Maybe you should give him a different kind of cookie.”

 She looked so hopeful, Lila couldn’t help but laugh. Only in my dreams…

Jack has a thing for chocolate chip, and I never turn those down. However, at holiday time I crave these apricot almonds thumbprints. After you taste one, you’ll know why. Enjoy!

The kids like strawberry!

The kids like strawberry!

Apricot Almond Thumbprints (3 dozen-ish)

2 ¼ Cups Flour

½ teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ teaspoon Baking Powder

2 Sticks Butter, slightly softened

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Egg

3 Ounces Cream Cheese, cut in chunks, room temperature

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 teaspoon Almond Extract

2/3 Cup Almonds, chopped

Apricot Jam for the centers (or any jam!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add egg.

5. Beat in cream cheese, vanilla, and almond extract. Incorporate dry ingredients.

6. Shape the dough into one-inch balls with lightly greased hands.

7. Dip the tops in nuts.

8. Place, nut side up, on the baking sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Using your thumb, press a deep well into the center of each cookie.

9. Place ¼ teaspoon of jam in each cookie.

10. Bake the cookies about nine minutes, reversing the trays front to back, top to bottom, halfway through the baking time. Bake until they just begin to brown around the edges. Transfer cookie to a wire rack to cool before sampling because that jam gets HOT!

Why yes, I did make a batch just to take a picture for this blog post. Why yes, I did eat quite a few of them myself. Why yes, I have been thinking about my old job at that bakery all week. Isn’t it amazing how food evokes memories? That bakery was plumb crazy at Christmas time. We worked around the clock to get all those darn cut-outs frosted, all those Christmas cakes decorated, and those spectacular one-of-a-kind gingerbread houses finished. And don’t get me started on the wedding cakes. Or the employee cookie exchange, dubbed “The Joy Experience” by the evil elf cracking the cookie whip over those of us holiday-drunk enough to sign up.

Cherished memories!

Most of mine involve food…and friends. What about you? Do you have a special holiday cookie or dish that you love to share with friends? Something that makes the season special for you? Evokes a memory or gives you joy to cook it, eat it, or give it away? Is it a cookie? I hope you’ll leave a comment on the Rafflecopter and tell us about it! We’re celebrating the season by giving away a Harry & David Tower of Treats, a book gift card, and Hungry Hearts Author swag. Lots of chances to win! Share your JOY!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER: a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPECTACULAR COOKIE RECIPES! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS DELICIOUSNESS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE HUNGRY HEARTS HOLIDAY HOPpers!

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  1. Favorite holiday cookie is simple but classic…snickerdoodle. I love them and to me they smell like Christmas.

  2. ‘Forgotten Cookies’ meringue that I put mini chips, finely chopped nuts….

  3. Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies.

    I adore chocolate and salt!! and you don’t get any better than the thick, gooey, and chewy chocolate chip cookies stuffed with caramels and topped with sea salt. The ultimate sweet & salty cookie!
    Credit this to Sally’s Baking Addiction…her recipe..to my oven! Simply Delicious!!

    Yield: 15 large cookies
    Ingredients:

    2 and 1/4 cup (280 grams) all-purpose flour, measured the correct way
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar, loosely packed
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1 large egg + 1 egg yolk*
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup (180 grams) chocolate chips, divided
    15 Rolo candies (or other chocolate coated caramel)
    sea salt
    Directions:

    Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
    In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain.
    Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula.
    The dough will be very soft. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to have them evenly dispersed among the dough. Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory, the longer the better.
    Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
    Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Unwrap the Rolos and have your 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a pile ready to be used.
    Roll the dough into balls, 1.5 Tablespoons each. You’ll have about 30 balls, give or take. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will allow the balls to stay intact. Make a thumbprint into one dough ball and press the Rolo inside. Cover the Rolo with another dough ball and mold the two dough balls around the Rolo, making sure it is completely wrapped inside. See photo above for a visual. Gently press down on the large cookie dough ball to *slightly* flatten and press a few more chocolate chips on top. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put 7-8 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet. Put one cookie sheet into the refrigerator as you bake batch #1. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Do not bake longer than 13 minutes. They will continue to bake on the cookie sheet.
    Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. If the cookies still look too puffy when you remove them from the oven, gently press down on them a little more. Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. Rolled cookie dough may be frozen up to 3 months and baked in their frozen state for 13-14 minutes.

  4. These cookies look great. I’ve had and made them before–but without out the almond slices. Next time, I’m going to add those. Cheers!

  5. So many…. I love cut outs, buckeyes, caramel tarts….

  6. My favorite holiday cookie is the Peanut Butter Blossoms, with peanut butter and chocolate kisses.

  7. gingerbread

  8. YUM! I love almonds, and we used to have a huge apricot tree that my mum would make jars and jars of jam from. These sound like the perfect combo.

  9. I love holiday baking. This week I made eggnog fudge and Rachel Harris’s cookie recipe. Tomorrow making sugar cookies.

  10. we make fruit cocktail cookies love these

  11. My favorite holiday cookie? Don’t know that I’d say I have a favorite. Toll House Chocolate Chip, My mama’s recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies {also her PB fudge), Snickerdoodles. My grandmother made some mean Peanut Brittle – the airy kind.
    I used to make cookies during the holidays, but haven’t done that in years. Not sure I’d be very successful at it now. BUT, some of the recipes shared in this Hungry Hearts Holiday Hop sure make me want to try baking again.

  12. My daughter’s decorated sugar cookies are sooooo good…and pretty, too!

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