Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Isn’t this the most wonderful time of the year?!?  The snow has been falling for a few weeks here in Michigan already — okay, okay — I am honestly NOT excited about that.  This year it seems as though time is just flying.  It seems like just last week it was Thanksgiving and now here we are less than a week away from Christmas.

Christmas is literally my favorite time of the year.  I love the family spirit, baking, gift giving, and most of all — the Christmas decorations.  Oh, the Christmas decorations!!!  Mark cringes when we walk into a store and they are selling Christmas items.  As a women in her late 20’s I already own more Christmas decorations than most people’s Grandmothers do!  I love decorating for Christmas.  I cannot wait until one day Mark and I have a bigger house where I can setup two or three full sized Christmas trees.

This year my Christmas spirit has been lacking a little bit.  Mark and I have had a rough fall/winter and this year I have just been struggling to get into the normal Christmas spirit that I usually have.  I was able to get our Christmas tree up this year and a few of my other decorations, but other than that I’ve done nothing.  I am always girl the who done buying Christmas gifts by Thanksgiving and this year I didn’t start until this past week.  In fact, as shocking as it may sound — I haven’t even done any baking!!

So, today I finally forced myself to get in the kitchen and bake some of my favorite holiday cookies.  I knew that these cookies would be perfect to post today!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

These cookies taste like Christmas!  What does Christmas taste like — well, like heaven really!  For being a shortbread cookie these cookies are light and moist and the raspberry filling adds just the perfect sweet tang to the cookie.  To top it off the almond flavored icing really brings the whole cookie together.

One thing I love about these cookies is how simple they are to make.  It does not require getting out your stand mixer, lots of ingredients, or a lot of steps.  If your lives are anything similar to mine — then during the holidays being able to make a delicious cookie to share with family and friends but that is easy to make where you are not slaving over the stove all day is amazing.

Mark and I polished off about a dozen of these within an hour of making them.  I know, that means we will both need to run 3-5 miles on the treadmill tomorrow morning but trust me — they are so worth it!  I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do!!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies
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For the Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
Sugar for sprinkling

For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer beat the softened butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and almond extract; and mix well on medium speed until well combined.  Make sure to scrap down the side of the bowl once while mixing.  Add 1 cup of flour and mix for about 20-30 seconds on low speed.  Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and mix again for 20-30 seconds on medium-low speed.  The dough will be crumbly at this point.

Using your hands, gently work the dough together to form one large disk.  Cover the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until the dough is easy to handle.

After the dough has chilled, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using the palm of your hand gently press down the ball a little bit; and then using your thumb press an indentation into the center of each ball.  Spoon about ½ teaspoon of the raspberry jam into the center of each cookie and then lightly sprinkle the cookies with sugar.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown.  Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cookies are cooling in a small bowl add the powered sugar, almond extract and 1-2 teaspoons of the milk.  Stir the powered sugar, slowly adding the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches a consistency that you can drizzle with.  Drizzle the cookies with the icing and enjoy!

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Source: adapted slightly from Parent Pretty, originally from Better Homes & Garden

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze

I cannot believe that the first official day of fall is less than 3 weeks away.  I seems as though summer just showed up and it is already time for fall – not that I am complaining!! Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. Pumpkins, apple orchards, apple cider, Thanksgiving – I could go on and on about all of the reasons why I love fall time – but one of my all time favorite parts of fall is all the greats fall recipes I get to make.

Beef stew, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin loaves, etc.  One of my favorite fall time sweet treats are these amazing pumpkin toffee cookies. I came across this recipe last year and I’ve been making these cookies ever since.  The cookies

I know it is a few weeks early but I could not wait to start posting some of my favorite fall recipes and within the next month I am going to start posting some of my favorite Thanksgiving Day meal recipes. Enjoy!!

Photo by Two Peas and a Pod.

Photo by Two Peas and a Pod.

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze
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For the Cookies:
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground All-Spice
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree (ensure it is not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Large Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extrat
1 3/4 cups Heath Toffee Bits (or chopped Heath Candy Bars)

For the Glaze:
2 cups Powdered Sugar
3/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce (or 3/4 cup Caramel Sauce & 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)
2-3 tablespoons Milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and salt. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixture beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, which will take about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract. Beat the ingredients together on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on slow speed slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated together. By hand, stir in the heath toffee bits. Try not to over mix the batter!

Using a cookie scoop or a large spoon, drop dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet placing the cookies approximately 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown around the edges and look set. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling you can make the glaze! In a medium sized mixing bowl add the powdered sugar, salted caramel sauce and milk. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Once the cookies have completely cooled drizzle the salted caramel glaze on top of them.

Note: For the glaze you may need to add more milk or more powdered sugar depending on the thickness of the glaze. Slowly add 1/2 tablespoon more of milk or powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Cake Cookie Sandwich’s

Seeing that I love to bake and there are only two of us in the house — a lot of times my baking habits do not help either of our waistlines!  There is a reason that both Mark and I run — and trust me it is not purely for our love our running — a lot of it has to do with our love of food!  

I often get asked what I do with all of the goodies I bake — and let me tell you what — rarely do I keep them!  It just is not healthy to have that many baked goods laying around our house all the time.  Neither one of us has very good self control! 🙂 But I do not believe in wasting food either.  I am extremely lucky that I have the perfect solution!  My husband is a police officer and that means that he works with men who love having treats dropped off to the office!!!!! 

One of Mark’s favorite, and I mean FAVORITE treats is cookies topped with frosting.  And not skimpy amounts of frosting — LOTS of frosting!  The other evening I was in the mood to make cookie sandwich’s for him and the guys at work and I knew I wanted to make them using these amazing cake cookies.  Why?  Because the flavor combinations are endless! I truly mean endless!!!   And this recipe is literally one of the easiest recipes I have ever made! 

Cake Cookie Sandwich's(2)

I made larger sandwich’s using a strawberry cake mix and smaller sandwich’s using a yellow butter cake mix — and I have an entire list of other flavor combinations I cannot wait to try like chocolate and lemon!!!   You can also use a different flavoring, other than vanilla, in the filling if you so desire. 

These would make a great treat for a child’s birthday party!!  You could have the cookies all baked, the filling made, and have the kids all help assemble them allowing them each to pick which topping they want their cookie sandwich rolled in! 

Cake Cookie Sandwich's

Cake Cookie Sandwich’s
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For the Cookies:
1 Package Cake Mix (any flavor)
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Butter, at room temperature

For the Filling:
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
2-3 Tablespoons Milk
1 Stick Butter, at room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the cake mix, eggs, and butter until well combined. (The dough will be thick.) Using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll into balls. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and press the cookies down slightly. (For larger cookie sandwich’s do two scoop of the dough and for smaller sandwich’s use one scoop.)

Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes. Immediately transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before filling!

To make the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk one tablespoon at a time mixing on low/medium speed until it reaches your desired consistency. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cookies and sandwich together. Roll the cookies in the topping of your choice!

This recipe will make about 6 of the large cookie sandwiches and about 12 of the smaller cookie sandwiches.

Source: Cookies adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff and filling adapted from my Aunt Kathy.