Autumn Cookies, or De-Martha’d Double-Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Autumn Cookies, or De-Martha’d Double-Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

The air has gone crisp. Yellow leaves have blown into my bedroom – or perhaps traveled in on rain boots. The cranberries have arrived at Trader Joe’s! This can mean only one thing: autumn is here.

Cookies are always on tap in my kitchen. And there are no cookies like autumn cookies. But gingersnaps, pfeffernusse, and mint chocolate are de regueur. For this autumn, I wanted something special. Something that makes use of those fresh cranberries in the store. So I hit google and discovered that Martha Stewart authored a double-chocolate cranberry cookie. With Martha, you can’t go wrong, so I started in on the recipe. Except she called for sweetened dried cranberries, and I wanted tart fresh ones. She requires bittersweet chocolate, and I don’t have that on hand. And frankly, she uses way more butter than I can stomach.

Join me on the dark side of Martha, or use the presumably-perfect Martha version. Either way, happy autumn!


Double-Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in a microwave

1 cup 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled) 

3 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt sprinkle salt, if you want

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature margarine, at whatever temperature 

little less than 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries about 1 cup fresh cranberries, mashed in a food processor

Cream margarine and sugars; add eggs and vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate and canberries. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Autumn Cookies and Apple Spice Loaf, at your service
They May Not Taste Like It, But They’re Pesachdik

They May Not Taste Like It, But They’re Pesachdik

My sister is many things.

She’s a clear communicator. See below if you don’t believe me:

We need to make these next year, they don’t taste pesadik.

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cake meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil
3/4 bag of chocolate chips
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 250 F for 30-35 minutes
Makes 30 cookies
She is also a truth-telller.
Chag samach!
Fabulous Dessert

Fabulous Dessert

My favorite beautician goes by the name of Fab. The salon she works at demands that all employees chose their moniker, though they don’t mention that to customers. The first time I went there, I was greeted by Sweetheart. Sweetheart was extremely friendly, so I felt comfortable asking if Sweetheart was really her name. She smiled widely, and told me it was. She was such a sweetheart, I believed her.

I believed her until Firebird washed my hair, and introduced me to my hair-cutter Dynamo. Then the jig was up; Sweetheart might have fit her name, but Firebird was calm and Dynamo seemed more likely to take a nap than take the town by storm. I’ve no idea who chose those names, but they did a very poor job.

Fab is a different story. Fab was totally Fab, from her cutting-edge fashion to her glamorous smile.  When she asked me what kind of haircut I wanted the only appropriate answer was the obvious one; “Fab, please.”

As she cut, we talked about sisters and movies, jobs and expectations. Slowly but surely, I moved the conversation toward her name. I threw the word fab into our conversation – not hard in this day and age – and casually added; “How did you get the name Fab”

She gave a fab chuckle, and told me that she’d gotten the interview after a friend tipped her off that there was an opening at the salon. Though she’d been cutting hair for a long time, she’d never worked in a salon, and was thrilled to get the interview. In her excitement, she’d answered every question with a “Fab.” The salon owner, delighted, took to her right away, and insisted that she go by Fab. So Fab she’d been for over two years, and Fab she intended to stay.

The hair cut was fine, but the experience was fab.

Perhaps if you are Fab life is always fabulous. For others of us, you have to make the fabulous happen. Last week was long, so I decided to make the fabulous happen on shabbos. Google, my trusty sidekick, was sent out to search for fabulous dessert recipes. After its due diligence, I looked through the results.

Google didn’t do half-bad, but it’s results needed the human touch to go from fabulous to truly fab.

Coconut rum balls? No

Cinnamon bread-pudding? Intriguing

Minty Pretzel Cookies [based on a true recipe]? Totally fab

1/2 c margarine

1 1/4 c sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 c chocolate chips

1 c peppermint candies, hammered to a pulp

1/2 – 1 c pretzels, crushed

Cream margarine and sugar; mix in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; mix into sugar. Add chocolate chips, peppermint candies, and pretzels. Bake at 350 for 10 – 15 minutes. Optional: drizzle melted chocolate chips over the cookies or dip the cookies in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the remaining peppermint candies.

A Cookie Kind of Year

A Cookie Kind of Year

Sweet years do not make themselves. To start your year off sweet, you’ve got to prepare the sweetness. You can do that by bringing your sugar-sweet perspective to  bear on any dark and stormy situation. Or you can make Rosh Hashana cookies to share with one and all in the new year. Guess which route I took.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
(less)1/2 cup unsalted margarine
(less)1 cup brown sugar
(3 tsp) granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 3/4 cups flour
8 oz chocolate chipsCream the margarine and sugars to a consistency of wet sand, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine all other dry ingredients, then add slowly to the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes.

For lots of sweetness, expand your options by making Soft Gingersnaps or Pumpkin Cookies. I did, and look forward to rave reviews.
Soft Gingersnaps (based on a true The Orangette recipe)
2 ¼ c flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
sprinkle of salt
(less) 1/2 c  margarine
(less) 1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1/3 c molassesCombine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt and shift together.Mix margarine and brown sugar until the consistency of wet sand. Add eggs one at a time, and mix. Add the ginger and molasses, and mix to blend well. Slowly add dry mixture to wet batter.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Optional: Roll batter into balls, toss each of the balls gently in 1/2 cup of sugar and bake as directed above.
Pumpkin Cookies (inspired by Giant Eagle. Their’s are better.)
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
sprinkle of salt
1 1/2 c sugar
(less) 1/2 c margarine
1 cup canned pumpkin. If it was really fall, you could use fresh pumpkin, but at this time of year you don’t want to use any pumpkins that are on the market.
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Cream sugar and margarine until you reach the consistency of wet sand. Mix in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Slowly fold in dry ingredients.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.
Optional, but recommended: Glaze cookies.