Gingerbread Cookies

Everything you want in a classic gingerbread cookie. These are fragrant, spice-flecked, and delicious.

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Gingerbread cookies are the best. I like to bite their heads off first, then each arm, and then each leg. These are always the second cookie I include in my holiday cookie boxes, these shortbread cookies are always the first. Shortbread forever.  That said, I have a few strong opinions on how I like my gingerbread and this recipe checks every box. These cookies are tasty, classic, spice-forward and a rich shade of brown. The smell like spice-kissed magic when baking.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing

Let’s Make Strong Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies have a job to do. This isn’t the time for chewy, moist, or flaky cookies. When you are making gingerbread men (or women) it’s important to make a cookie that is sturdy. This is especially important if you are making large + tall gingerbread men, or using the recipe to create walls for a gingerbread house or structure. You should be able to hold you gingerbread cookies by one leg and not have the leg crumble or bend off. I’m not talking about making a gingerbread cracker here, but hopefully you get my drift. As you can see from the picture my gingerbread cookie is standing tall and straight. That’s what you’re after.
Gingerbread Cookies with Simple Icing on Sheetpan
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Big Flavor

I love gingerbread cookies with some kick. No skimping on the spices please. This recipe is loaded with a generous dose of ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, and pepper. Every bite should have a spicy tingle to it. I’ve recently started adding freshly grated nutmeg as well. Even better. As they are baking, people should flock to the oven from the far recesses of the house to have a peek at the source of the wonderful smells. You can’t be shy with the spices.
Two Rows of Gingerbread Cookie Dough Arranged on a Sheetpan

Appearance

Gingerbread cookies look best when they’re deep ginger in color, and spotted from head to toe with freckles of spices. The molasses in this recipe along with the generous amount of spices make for a nice, classic gingerbread appearance. I’m also picky about the shape and physique of my gingerbread people, always on the lookout for cookie cutters that are just the right shape for them. I love digging around for vintage cookie cutters at yard sales and flea markets. Keep your eye peeled!
Classic Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Decorating Gingerbread Cookies

I tend to opt for simplicity here. Sometimes just two little button dots are enough, or a simple slather of icing. I may do a few gingerbread without the buttons and go for one tiny white heart sprinkled with a touch of sugar sparkles instead. A little variety is nice.  And, although I tend to like a cookie with higher frosting to cookie ratio (sugar cookies for example), I’m in the less is more when it comes to icing gingerbread.
Close-up Photos of Iced Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Trees

Gingerbread Cookie Baking Tips

Getting the baking time key. Whatever you do, don’t over bake these guys. They will dry right out. If anything, under bake them just a shade. They will continue to bake for another couple of minutes once you pull them from the oven. Big cookies take longer to cook than tiny ones, keep that in mind as well.
Iced Gingerbread Cookies on a Sheetpan

How Long to Bake Gingerbread Cookies?

Knowing how long to bake gingerbread can be tricky because the dough is so dark. I end up relying on my nose as much as my eyes to know when to pull them from the oven. You can smell the spices blooming and the dough starting to toast, and that’s how to know you’re close. Look carefully at the dough where it touches the pan, that will get darkest first, once you see it starting to shift, consider removing the cookies.

A Clever Serving Idea

I was at a holiday part once where gingerbread cookies were baked onto popsicle sticks. They were arranged, bouquet-like, in a container filled with sugar. Kids loved eating them like lollipops.
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Stamped with Hearts on Marble Counter

Use all the Cookie Dough

My gingerbread men and women tend to bake alongside tiny gingerbread stars, hearts, and gingerbread candy canes. All made from dough scraps. You can gather your scraps and re-roll a couple of times to use as much of the dough as possible.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe with Icing
Overall, I love this gingerbread recipe, especially for cookies (and beyond!). It’s a classic dough that could easily be adapted for other gingerbread endeavors. Give it a try. I should also mention you can make this dough using 4 cups of white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Or even go half and half – all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. Have fun!
Gingerbread Cookies after Being Iced on A Marble Counter
If you’re a huge ginger fan, these Triple Ginger Cookies and these Sparkling Ginger Chip Cookies. Or browse all past cookie recipes. For other favorite holiday cookies, I have strong opinions about shortbread cookies, and love these Toasted Almond Sable Cookies.

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Classic Shortbread Cookies

Buttery, golden, classic shortbread cookies. So simple, and the best cookies on any cookie plate.

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Shortbread cookies were my first baking love. They were the first cookie I remember putting in the oven myself, always for the holidays, always wearing a kid-sized apron. I’ve developed some strong opinions on the shortbread front over the years, and I’m going to talk you through the difference between great shortbread cookies and the ones that are just so-so. Shortbread cookies can be the best cookie on any cookie tray (controversial take, I know!), and this post will walk you through how. I’ve featured shortbread many different ways on the site over the years, but love circling back to this buttery, golden, classic shortbread version.
Classic Shortbread Cookies

The Secret to Great Shortbread Cookies

I should say secrets, plural, because there are actually a few that will help bump your shortbread game from good to great.

  • Salt: Let’s start with this, it’s an easy one. A lot of shortbread cookie recipes are under salted, and that can leave them tasting flat and boring. Others call for salted butter which can be great, but it’s harder to control seasoning levels. I’m not saying go wild on the salt front, but treat it like a pillar ingredient. It is the ingredient that will bring the toasted butter, sugar, and flour into perfect focus. 
  • Thickness: For classic shortbread cookies like these, I like to go thick. I’ve found that rolling out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness is too thin, and a full-inch is too thick. I aim for somewhere in the 3/4-inch zone. This allows for golden crust with crisp buttery edge and a tender center.
    A Stack of Little Shortbreads
  • Baking Time: I’ve provided guidance in the recipe for baking time, but in reality it’s all about having an eagle eye and good nose here. Use your sight and smell. A lot of the shortbread I’ve come across over the years is too pale, nearly white. That’s not what I’m after. Shortbread that is allowed to get tip top super-golden and toasted where it touches the baking sheet, with a wash of color over the rest of the cookie is so much better. That’s how all the flavor comes to life. It’s literally the difference between butter and brown butter. Patience and attentiveness pays off here. Hover near the oven, let your shortbread get toasty.

Ingredients for Making Shortbread - Flour, Butter, Sugar, Salt

Ingredients in Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread magic happens when butter, sugar, flour, and salt come together. The list of ingredients is incredibly short, so you want to make sure each one is on point. Be sure your butter is good-quality, and recently purchased. You don’t want the butter picking up refrigerator odors. I also like to use a fresh bag of flour when baking shortbread, some flours can pick up off smells and flavors when they’ve been sitting around too long.
Classic Shortbread Cookies

Make-Ahead Shortbread Cookies

The freezer is your friend here and shortbread dough stored in an airtight container or double wrapped in plastic can last frozen for months. You can freeze the dough pre-rollout or proceed through the cutout phase. Once you’ve rolled and cut your dough, transfer the unbaked cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze before transferring to an air-tight container. Freeze until ready to bake.Cookie Dough on Baking Sheet Prepared to go in Oven

Thick or Thin?

We talked a bit about this up above, but I have a few other things to say. When it comes to classic shortbread cookies, I lean towards thick. On the other hand, if I’ve loaded the dough up with zest, nuts, spices, or other flavors, I tend to roll the dough out a bit more thinly, cutting the cookies smaller for a more concentrated experience. All of this is personal preference, of course. One thing to think about here is oven temperature. For thicker shortbread, starting with a slightly hotter oven to set the dough, and then dialing it back a bit can help prevent spread. And with smaller, thinner shortbread you don’t have to worry about that as much. When in doubt, just keep an eye on things!
A Close-up of Four Freshly Baked Shortbread Cookies

How do I keep my Shortbread from Spreading?

If you look at the photos above  you can see the difference between properly chilled shortbread dough prior to baking (circles), and dough that wasn’t chilled long enough (rectangles). The circles had their shape perfectly while the larger rectangular slabs had a bit of spread. Another hour in the refrigerator or baking straight from the freezer will likely fix that. If you’re still getting too much spread, reduce the time you’re creaming the butter and sugars, too much air being incorporated into the dough can also cause your cookies to spread. Last, confirm your oven temperature is correct, if it is running low, you’re going to have trouble.Classic Shortbread Cookies

Other Shortbread Cookie Ideas

Once you have a shortbread recipe you love in your back pocket (hopefully this one!), you can play around with many variables.

  • Skillet Shortbread: bake directly into a cast iron skillet or press the dough into a pan, marking with fork tines, then bake. In either case, mark the top of the dough with fork tines, to ensure more even baking.
  • Try Alternative Flours: If you want to introduce other flours to this recipe go for it. I’d start with 20% and make note from there. Rye flour is always a great starting point, oat flour might be nice, or buckwheat flour. I’m also curious about introducing a percentage of something like almond flour but haven’t experimented with that yet. All would add dimension and depth.
  • Sugar Crust: A lot of people love it when large-grain sugar is sprinkled across the shortbread dough before baking. You end up with a crunchy sugar crust and some sparkle.

More Shortbread!

I’ve baked and highlighted many shortbread cookies over years and learned a lot. The Rosewater Shortbread Cookies and Toasted Almond Sables are my favorites in the beyond-classic category, but they all are special in one way or another.

Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread: This is the Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet. It’s incredible for a number of reasons. Imagine a crisp, shortbread base spread thick with a creamy tahini-halva blend, finished with glossy tahini caramel. It’s brilliant, and a thin slice makes for the perfect treat.
Millionaire's Shortbread in Slices on Marble Table
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies: One of my favorites. Classic, buttery, whole wheat shortbread cookies fragrant with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They have a crunchy dusting of sugar on top that provides a satisfying, sweet tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. They are the prettiest of the shortbread lot.
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies
Toasted Almond Sable Cookies // Toasty, nutty sable cookies made with whole wheat flour, sliced almonds, currents and salted butter. They are a take-off on Alice Medrich’s charming Whole Wheat Sables, published in her book Pure Dessert.
Toasted Almond Sables Cookies cut into Teardrop Shape

There’s also Apple & Carrot ShortbreadHearst Castle Shortbread Cookies, Pine Nut Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, and Olive Biscuit Cookies. And then, beyond that, here are all of the cookie recipes and baking recipes. Happy baking everyone!

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Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies

Snappy, small, fragrant, vanilla wafer cookies made with a whole vanilla pod. The entire thing!

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I was pulling the sad remnant of a vanilla bean from a bag of sugar the other day, and it got me thinking about using whole vanilla beans. The entire pod. I’m sure this isn’t a unique concept, but for whatever reason, it’s not something I’d ever considered before. I started thinking it through a bit, and landed on the idea of pureeing a whole pod in a food processor to use in something. Perhaps adding some sugar to bulk it out the vanilla bean a bit. After a bit of experimenting, I landed on these little cookies. I love them!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies

These cookies are super simple to make – snappy, small, and fragrant, with a sloppy kiss of vanilla, and a right hook of salt to balance everything out. Any tiny pieces of vanilla bean that survived the processor are a bit like having vanilla-kissed flecks of raisins cut into the dough.

Whole Vanilla Bean CookiesWhole Vanilla Bean Cookies

I made the cookies with a blend of rye and all-purpose flours, but I suspect you could make them using either all-purpose flour, or whole wheat pastry flour without any trouble. And, as far as the vanilla bean goes, the key is starting with a good pod, one that is pliable and from a reputable source. I tested these with Nielson-Massey beans because I know many of you have access, and they seem to be widely distributed.

Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
I love sharing these as part of a cookie plate, or cookie gift box alongside other favorite cookies. You can have a look at all the past cookie recipes, or jump right into these favorite shortbread, sables, snickerdoodles, puddle cookies and the like!
Whole Vanilla Bean Cookies
Have you all come across other whole vanilla ideas/recipes? – I’ve held off googling.

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Aran’s Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies

From Aran Goyoaga’s new baking book, these buckwheat & chocolate crinkle cookies are spiked with almond butter, gluten-free, and the perfect cross between a brownie and a cookie.

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Many of you know that I consider Aran Goyoaga a close friend and colleague. We first messaged each other over a decade ago, and made an effort in the years since to get to know each other. We’ll meet up if we’re in the same city, and travel together on occasion. I love hearing about what Aran is working on and enjoy catching glimpses of her work-in-progress. She works on a lot of cool (beautiful!) projects, but recently she has been writing and photographing a book that is exceptionally close to her heart. A baking book.  Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanille Bakes Simple is the culmination of Aran’s deep knowledge of baking. She mailed me an early copy of the book and I walked straight to the oven and dialed it to pre-heat. Cookies were going to get baked, pronto. I’ll tell you more about the book down below (and share some pics), but the first thing you need to know is that these puddles of fudge-y goodness were amazing. They’re her Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies, and Aran says about them, “…these cookies are crispy and gooey at the same time- a cross between a brownie and a cookie.”
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
The flavor! I love the chocolate-buckwheat combination which adds depth and dimension working alongside a good amount of brown sugar. They’re delicious. If you rarely explore the realm of flours beyond general all-purpose flour (and want to!), these cookies would be a great place to start. Also, if you’re looking for a great gluten-free cookie recipe to take for a spin, these fit the bill. They were the first thing I baked and were much loved at the potluck I took them to.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies

Variations // Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: 

  • Double Chocolate Fennel-Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: Aran makes her cookies with a teaspoon or so of crushed fennel seeds. I couldn’t find my fennel seeds (in any of my seven spice drawers LOL), so we went for straight chocolate & buckwheat for this round. Though I imagine the anise-scented fennel seeds with the chocolate would be wonderfully fragrant and special.
  • Espresso Double Chocolate Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: A bit obvious, but if you love a coffee-chocolate combination add a tablespoon of finely ground espresso beans with the cocoa powder. 
  • Black Cocoa Buckwheat Crinkle Cookies: I can imagine replacing 1 of the 3 tablespoons of cocoa called for in this recipe with a black cocoa, making note, and dialing it up from there if you love the richness of black cocoa as much as I do.

Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Below are a few snapshots of the interior of Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple. The photography is stunning, as is the beautiful book design. I’ll weave in some thoughts between some of the spreads below.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Who is this book for? This is the book I would buy for anyone wanting one fantastic, substantial deep dive into gluten-free baking. It’s all here. You’re covered on the sourdough front. GF Breads, baguettes, brioche, bagels, babkas? Check. Cakes, pie dough, scones, shortbread, thumbprints? All there. I also love the inclusion of a holiday baking section as the final chapter in the book. Linzertorte! Hot cross buns! Rugelach! Challah! Alternately, if you’re a baker wanting to explore the wonderful realm of baking with alternative flours you’ll find much inspiration here as well.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Cannelle Et Vanilla Bakes Simple will be available October 26, 2021 and my pro-tip here is this – if you think this is a book you might want to give as a holiday gift, pre-order it now. I suspect it will sell fast. I’m not just saying that as a friend of Aran’s, I’m saying it as someone who is buying multiple copies to give to friends and family with gluten-sensitivity because it covers so much in a beautiful package.
Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Beyond the book, if you’re interested in more Aran goodness you’re in luck. She has a fantastic Instagram account, and you can keep track of her events and new projects on her site. Aran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle CookiesAran Goyoaga's Chocolate Rye Crinkle Cookies
Before I sign off, just know that there is a lot of chocolate in the archives, and plenty of gluten-free recipes as well. Here’s where you can find more chocolate recipes, as well as lots of cookie recipes: Don’t miss these favorites: my all-time favorite brownies, this flourless chocolate cake, please please please make this chocolate pudding, and don’t miss out on this chocolate devil’s food cake. 

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Swedish Rye Cookies

Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for anyone after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie.

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Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for holiday cookie enthusiasts (or, anyone really!) after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie. I make them with a blend of rye and whole wheat pastry flours, and also break with tradition when it comes adding a secret ingredient. Because I love the taste of toasted rye bread slathered with cream cheese, I use a butter/cream cheese combination for the dough – instead of a butter-only dough.
Swedish Rye Cookies and Powdered Sugar
These cookies can be baked into all sorts of shapes although I do like to roll & stamp them. The dough is generally easy to work with and I’ve found that cutters from super small up to medium-large in size work really well. 

Swedish Rye Cookie Dough

Other Ideas

I suspect you could experiment with other flours in place of the rye and expect good results – barley or oat flours might work well. I was also thinking about doing a savory version of this cookie with herbs and grated cheese in place of most/all of the sugar – turning it into a buttery rye cream-cheese herb cracker…

Swedish Rye Cookies before Baking

Variations

A number of you have commented over the years with successful variations on this recipe. I wanted to highlight a couple here with the hope that it might be helpful!

  • Can these be adapted to be vegan? Truman notes, “I replaced the butter and cream cheese with earth balance vegan buttery stick and tofutti better than cream cheese. This made it a bit more heart healthy, and vegan as well.” And along those lines, Keri adds, “I made the vegan version of these as well! They are delicious – I added some grated orange zest and ground anise seed, and they remind me of a less-crispy version of my grandma’s pepperkaker.”
  • KanelBulle spiced things up, “I combined this with the gingerbread idea by adding spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and using a dark sugar that is called “molasses sugar”. It came out brilliantly (even if I don’t have the cutters to make those rings).”

Swedish Rye Cookies on Baking Sheet

I like to make these cookies not just around the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year as well tbh. If you’re here and on the lookout for holiday/ Christmas cookie recipes, I’ve compiled a bunch of favorites from past holidays into one place. Or, here if you’re simply looking for more cookie recipe inspiration. I particularly love these chocolate puddle cookies, this shortbread, these special snickerdoodles, this millionaire’s shortbread, and these triple ginger cookies.

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Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread

This is the Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet. It’s incredible for a number of reasons.

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This is the Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet, and it’s incredible. Millionaire’s shortbread is traditionally made by layering shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. It’s often shockingly sweet, and overly rich – even by dessert standards. This is different. Imagine a crisp, shortbread base spread thick with a creamy tahini-halva blend, finished with glossy tahini caramel. It’s brilliant, and a thin slice makes for the perfect treat.
Middle Eastern Millionaire's Shortbread

A Sourcing Tip

The trickiest part of this recipe is sourcing the halva. There are a couple grocers who stock big slabs of halva here in San Francisco, and you can purchase it by the pound. Call around if you’re stumped, and check Middle Eastern markets. Even if they don’t have it, they might be able to point you in the right direction.
Middle Eastern Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire’s Shortbread Components

One of the great things about this recipe is the components. You can make them in stages. For example, you can bake the shortbread crust a few days in advance, if you like. The spread comes together in a flash, so it’s less of a consideration. And then you can make the tahini caramel when you’re ready. When finished, you can keep the bars, refrigerated, for up to a week.
Middle Eastern Millionaire's Shortbread
Play around with pan shapes, and the like. Individual, tiny versions of millionaire’s shortbread are definitely on my list to try. And I can imagine baking in a round tart pan, slicing thin wedges instead of bars. 

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Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

This is the recipe I use anytime I want perfect sugar cookies. Great flavor, and the dough is a dream to work with.

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This is the recipe I use anytime I want perfect sugar cookies. They bake up beautifully with nice structure and a hint of snap when you break them in two. Especially true if you can wait that extra minute or two before taking them from the oven. So they have time to shift from just-plain-baked to golden, crisp, and toasted. The dough is an absolute dream to work with. And the flavor? They have just the right amount of salt to counter the sweet. Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies
This recipe makes enough dough to yield plenty of cookies, with dough left over to freeze. I typically run out of energy before I run out of dough. I thought I’d posted this recipe long ago(!), but a search through the archives proved me wrong! I’m also including the icing I like.

Icing

As far as icing goes, I have a lot of thoughts. ? I have a base recipe I use and then tweak it from there. Sometimes, I like my icing somewhat translucent, like a wash – so I add more water. Other times, I want it more opaque, so I leave it as written (below). I always like it to be a bit matte, and not hyper-glossy, so that’s what you’ll get here. Also, have fun with natural colors. You could do tiny hot-pink dots on the trees pictured with some raspberry powder plus a bit of the icing added to it. I like saffron for yellow, matcha for green, etc. Play around!

Simple Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

Pro-tip! Keep your eyes peeled at yard sales, flea markets, and the like for special cookie cutters – that’s where you’ll find the gems. I have a bin of favorites that I can go to each time I make cookies.

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Chocolate Dipped Biscotti

Sesame studded and heavily scented with crushed fennel seeds and chamomile, these chocolate dipped biscotti punctuated my espressos this week.

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Sesame studded and heavily scented with crushed fennel seeds and chamomile, these chocolate dipped biscotti punctuated my espressos all week. They were the petite treats I looked forward to. If you’ve never baked biscotti before, they’re a lot of fun, and quite adaptable. The main thing? You double bake them. First with the biscotti dough shaped into a long loaf. And a second time after you’ve baked and sliced those loaves into biscotti.

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe
You can play around with the flavors here, but the way the fennel seeds and chamomile complements the chocolate is really fantastic (I used, and loved, Guittard 66% organic semisweet). That said, I’ll offer up some alternative suggestions down below, because I totally get that not everyone keeps chamomile around ? xx!
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

Biscotti Tips:

A couple things I should point out:

Rolling Technique: First, make sure to roll your dough into a tight shape (pictured below). This way, when you go to slice your biscotti after the first bake, they’ll hold their shape. You don’t want crumbling biscotti going into the second bake. A serrated knife is the way to go for slicing, using a quick sawing motion, and not too much downward pressure.

Texture and Baking: If you like a cake-y biscotti, slice them a shade thicker and bake them for a hint less time. If you like a crunchier, more structured biscotti, slice them a shade thinner, and bake them a bit longer (consider flipping them toward the end to really get both side toasty).

Storage: On the storage front. They’ll keep in an air-tight container for a couple of weeks.

Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

Variations

Herbs: I love herbs like rosemary, thyme, and lavender in biscotti. You can experiment with those. Chop and add to your dough with the other dry ingredients. Go easy, make notes, and adjust each time you bake them. A teaspoon is a good place to start.

Spices: A bit of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, all are welcome here. Basically if it’s a flavor you can imagine being good in a muffin, it’s fair game here. Or, pre blended spices. My favorite chana masala blend is magic here, and garam masala is a good fit as well. 

Citrus Zest: Lemon zest, makrut lime zest (or minced leaves), orange zest – all add a sunny punch of flavor.

Outer Texture: I rolled these biscotti in sesame seeds to add some texture and boost the flavor inside the cookies, but you could go in all sorts of directions. You could roll them in large grains of sugar, for a crunchy, shardy texture. Or, poppy seeds (or a blend of seeds) could be nice. Or, you could add some sort of flavor boost or ingredient to the egg wash you do before the first bake.
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe

This is what my biscotti looked like when they came out of the oven after their second bake. Once you’ve sliced your biscotti, for the second bake, you can put them all on one pan. They’ve already risen, so you don’t need to distance them the way you would with most other cookies.
Chocolate Dipped Biscotti Recipe
If biscotti aren’t your thing, but you’re still up for a baking adventure, I love these brownies, this Devil’s Food Cake, these snickerdoodles, or the swirl cake from last week.

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Super Swiss Meringues

Let’s make beautiful, billowy Swiss meringue! You can shape it into all sorts of shapes and swooshes, or punctuate with a range of nuts, seeds, and spices.

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Let’s make beautiful, billowy meringues! Few treats are more charming or versatile. The first order of business is deciding which method to use – there are a number of options. More often than not, I go the Swiss meringue route, which I’ll explain below. A lot of people like to use the French method – where you whisk eggs until they are nice and frothy, adding granulated sugar, a bit at a time. I wouldn’t disagree that it’s the simplest method, but I like the Swiss meringue approach instead, for a number of reasons.How to Maker Swiss Meringue

Swiss Meringue Technique

To make Swiss meringue, you basically combine all your ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat it over a pan of simmering water until smooth, and then pop that mixing bowl back into your mixer. Whisk until you have a beautiful, bright, glossy meringue. It’s quite straight-forward. I think cooking sugar always freaks people out, and to do it right, you should use a thermometer, but don’t let that deter you.How to Maker Swiss Meringue

Why Swiss Meringue?

Reason number one, you don’t have to remember to bring your eggs to room temperature. This is major. I always forget to pull my eggs from the refrigerator. You don’t have to worry about this if you’re using the Swiss approach. The second thing, I like to be able to pipe my meringue into somewhat intricate shapes (see photos). I have much better luck with Swiss meringue. It’s stiffer, and holds ridges, dollops, and flourishes better. If you’re trying to avoid blobby meringue, start here. 
How to Maker Swiss Meringue

Keys to Success

1) Use a completely clean, dry  bowl, whisk, spatula, etc. to get the most volume of meringue. Any residual oils will hamper your efforts.

2) Adjust your baking time based on whether you’re like a chewier or crisper meringue. Leave them to bake longer for crisper. Up to a few hours even!

3) If you do leave your meringues to bake longer, just be sure they aren’t taking on any/too much color. Ways to counter coloring: gently rotate pans, propping over door open with a wooden spoon, moving baking sheets either up or down in oven.

4) To maintain a glossy sheen and texture, try not to slam your oven door or baking sheet while baking. They might collapse a bit and end up with a crackled texture.
How to Maker Swiss Meringue

Favorite Add-ins

The recipe below is a nice base recipe. Once you get the hang of it play around with different add-ins. I love to stir in cacao nibs, toasted coconut flakes, saffron bloomed in the almond extract, dried rose petals + rose extract, lots of mixed sesame seeds, or toasted pistachios.
How to Maker Swiss Meringue

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Rosewater Shortbread Cookies

One of my favorites. Classic, buttery, whole wheat shortbread cookies fragrant with rosewater, flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals.

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These are buttery, whole-wheat shortbread cookies – fragrant with rosewater, and flecked with toasted nuts, and dried rose petals. They have a crunchy dusting of sugar on top that provides a satisfying, sweet tongue scratch, and are punctuated with black sesame. I’m not going to lie – it took a few attempts to nail them down. As many of you know – dealing with floral flavors can be a bit tricky. But now, as written, they’re oh so tasty.Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Shortbread Cookies: Inspiration

These little guys came about when I was tasked with bringing dessert to a friend’s house. She was cooking an impressive Ottolenghi-inspired feast, and I thought these would be a pretty finish. With the rose petals and all. In the years since that dinner they’ve become part of my regular shortbread repertoire, and I make them often for special occasions and holidays. I mean, they’re so pretty and tasty!
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Baking with Flowers

The trick with cooking or baking with florals is figuring out how much is too much, and how little is too little. For example, with this shortbread recipe, the first couple of attempts I used dried rose petals only, and a good amount. But the flavor got pushed around a bit, bullied and overpowered by the browning butter.

Second attempt? I gave the rose notes a boost by layering the petals in the dough with a splash of rose water. The dough immediately became more fragrant, balanced, and helped nail what I intended (and hoped for) from the start. I suggest using a bit of caution when baking with rose water, because each bottle seems to vary in strength, quality, and scent. Strictly for reference, I’ll mention that I have been using Nielsen-Massey Rose Water. If you’re unsure about the quality or strength of your rose water, start with half, and taste the dough. You can always adjust with more from there. Trust your senses :)!
Rosewater Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These little shortbread cookies are perfect alongside other bite-sized treats on a post-dinner sweets board. I like to break up a good bar of chocolate, include some salted caramels, maybe a few dates, etc. Or you could do a cookie-only sampler, with a range of tiny cookies. There are a lot of favorite cookie recipes to explore, or bake larger cookies, and cut them into quarters so people can sample.

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