Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

   

It’s been a little over a week since I made a new post, because I had some fun things going on. We went to Blizzcon again this year, making it our 5th trip to Anaheim for the big event. What set this year apart from the others was the fact that a total of 10 people from my WoW raiding group were able to go. The day before we left for the airport I started preparations for goodie bags to give to everyone. In each bag I included jalapeno cheddar crackers, garlic rosemary crackers, chocolate chip cookies, and the recipe I am sharing here today – lemon cream cheese cookies. Everyone that tried them and reported back to me really enjoyed them. I enjoyed how easy they were to make!

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

I love it whenever I experiment with baking and get awesome results like these. I had originally intended to create a pecan pie fudge to pack in the treat bags, but I realized I didn’t want to fiddle around with candy making so close to a trip. There were a couple of small lemons on my counter and I decided to do something with them instead. On a whim I asked Jah to stop on the way home to buy me a tub of cream cheese, even though I had no idea how adding cream cheese to a cookie dough would affect it. The resulting texture is a tender and cake-like with a delicate lemony sweetness. The lemon flavor is enhanced with an easy-to-prepare lemon zest glaze that each cookie gets dipped into.

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

These cookies went halfway across the US by plane and arrived in good shape. The glaze on top also kept them soft and fresh tasting for several days. If packaged carefully I think they will be perfect for mailing out at Christmas time. I know this is the time of year for pie, warm spices, and pumpkin everything – but these cookies are a refreshing change from the winter norms. I think we can all appreciate tasting a little bit of sunshine in the middle of November :)

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
Serves 36
Soft, cake-like lemon cookies with a lemon zest glaze.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
16 min
Total Time
26 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
16 min
Total Time
26 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest (this is about the amount I got from a small lemon)
  4. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer powder mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (or 1 egg)
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 8oz plain cream cheese
  9. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  10. For the glaze:

  11. 1 cup powdered sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  13. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  14. 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  15. 1 tablespoon whipping cream or milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat softened butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. I did everything in my food processor, which made it quick and easy.
  3. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, egg replacement, vanilla, and baking powder. Pulse until combined.
  4. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth.
  5. Gradually add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, combining well after each addition.
  6. Using a melon baller, cookie scoop, or heaping tablespoon, place balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. I fit about a dozen per sheet.
  7. Bake for about 16 minutes or until the edges are just barely golden.
  8. Allow cookies to rest on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
  9. In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and whipping cream until smooth. If you prefer the glaze a little thinner you can add more whipping cream, or more lemon juice if you prefer a tarter glaze.
  10. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, shake off the excess, and place back onto the cooling rack. I recommend laying a sheet of wax paper under the rack to catch any glaze that drips through. It makes cleanup much easier.
  11. Allow the glaze to harden (about 30 minutes) before packing the cookies away.
Calories
  1. 96
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies


Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

   

I’ve realized that I rather love the challenge of making foods to fit a certain theme, such as my breaking bad cupcakes and Halloween eyeball cookies. I decided that I wanted to do it again, but with something savory. On Saturday night I was attending a Halloween party and it felt like the perfect opportunity to try out the idea I had – adorable pumpkin shaped cheddar cheese crackers with fresh rosemary. I ended up being really happy with the results! It was hard to stop eating these things once they came out of the oven. I was “lucky” enough to have a few misshapen pumpkins, which gave me a perfect excuse to pop them in my mouth. I made an additional batch with a blend of white cheeses, garlic, and fresh dill that were amazing as well. I will definitely be remaking those for a future post. For now I’m sticking with sharing these cuties, because they are perfect for a fall table, a Halloween party, or a bit of Thanksgiving pre-feast snacking.

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Unfortunately we ended up being very late to the party, due to a few costume complications. I decided to attempt to transform myself into a sassy dame of the silver screen. The makeup test run I did a few days before the party didn’t prepare me for some of the problems I’d run into with makeup transferring to my clothes. I learned (after a lengthy trial and error process) that next time I need to set the makeup with significantly more translucent powder. On the bright side you can learn from my mistakes if you want to attempt this really unique costume! All you need to do is blend black and white makeup to create a custom shade of grey for your skin tone (I used Makeup Forever’s clown white and black color flash stick) and apply it to all places where your skin will show. Set with powder and a bit of makeup setting spray (I’ve heard hair spray works but I have no idea whether that’s a good idea haha) before applying makeup as usual. I used matte white, grey, and black eye shadows for shading and highlighting, grey eyeliner on my lips, black on my eyes, and white on my waterline. The result is definitely something people will talk about and it looks fantastic in pictures!

Black and White Costume

But you didn’t come here for costume ideas. You want crackers in your belly. You’re in luck because these crackers are really easy to make too. I’ve made cheese crackers many times before and usually it involves rolling out the dough and cutting the crackers into squares. I find that process somewhat tedious and time consuming, so changing it up to a log ‘n’ slice method makes it much easier. With a little manipulation you can slice your crackers into little pumpkin shapes that people will think you put a lot of effort into. Simply roll out a log as normal, flatten it slightly, and create a groove in the top – similarly to the top half of a heart. I used the flat handle of a spatula to do it. I pressed it down into the dough, shimmied it back and forth a little to create a V shape, and use my fingers to soften the harden edges. A couple of minutes later you should have something that looks like this.

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Wrap the log up and transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up. This will allow you to slice your crackers much more easily without deforming the shape. With a very sharp knife, slice your crackers into approximately 1/4″ pieces. If you want a more crisp cracker you can go as thin as 1/8″. Gently wedge a pumpkin seed into the top groove of each pumpkin and transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet for baking.

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

I was able to get about two dozen crackers from the entire batch, but if you choose to do a thinner cracker you should get almost double that. The resulting texture of the thicker cracker is almost like a crumbly, crunchy shortbread. The sharpness of the cheese along with the woodsiness of the rosemary packs so much rich flavor that you won’t want to stop eating them.

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers
Serves 48
Pumpkin shaped cheese crackers with rosemary are as cute as they are simple.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  2. 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (orange cheese is necessary for the pumpkin color)
  3. 1 cup all purpose flour
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  7. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 1-2 tablespoons cold water
  9. Pumpkins seed for “stems”
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. If you have a grater attachment for your food processor, grate the butter and cheese together. I know this sounds a little strange, but I find this to be a huge time saver. Otherwise you can cut the butter into small pieces and blend it with grated cheese. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Add flour, rosemary, and seasonings to food processor and blend until the rosemary is in small pieces.
  4. Add cheese mixture to the flour and pulse until crumbly.
  5. With the food processor running, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. You may only need a tablespoon, so only add as much as is necessary.
  6. Divide dough into two pieces and roll each one into a log shape. I did this on a sheet of parchment paper so it wouldn’t stick. If your dough is too crumbly you may need to knead it for a moment or add a touch more water. Flatten each log slightly so they are a little bit squat.
  7. With a thin, flat object (a handle, a clean ruler, the blunt edge of a knife) press it into the top of the dough and shimmy it back and forth to create a V shape like the top of a heart. Use your fingers to soften any hard edges. Wrap the logs up and transfer to the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove dough from freezer. With a sharp knife slice each log into 1/4″ pieces. For a more crisp cracker you can go as thin as 1/8″.
  9. Gently wedge a pumpkin seed into the top groove of each cracker, place on a parchment lined sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned at the edges. Thinner crackers may need less time, so keep an eye on them.
  10. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before serving (though they are delicious warm from the oven)!
Calories
  1. 39
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers


Eyeball Butter Cookies

   

Halloween is always a great time to be creative in the kitchen. What other time of year can you make foods to look like witch fingers and brains without anyone batting an eye? I gotta say that the idea of eating a litter box cake still makes me cringe though. Hey, we all have our limits.

When I set out to make a Halloween themed post I had lots of ideas rolling around in my head. After settling on doing a cookie, I knew that I wanted to make one that had a fun, holiday-appropriate look, while still being easy to accomplish. The subject of choice – eyeballs. A lot of the eyeball cookies I’ve seen involve breaking out the icing bags and tips for piping work. Another option involved using Lifesaver candies for the iris. These are both great in their own way, but I wanted to make a cookie that looked the part and was easy to do without sacrificing taste (I like Lifesavers just fine but I don’t really want to bite into one while eating a cookie). And by golly I feel like I’ve done it!

Eyeball Butter Cookies 

The base is a very simple vanilla butter cookie that comes together ridiculously fast. I think I would compare the flavor and texture to a cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. You can prepare them one of two ways – clear or bloodshot. The clear eyes are rolled in white sugar before baking, while the bloodshot dough gets tinted pink first and is rolled in powdered sugar. Once removed from the oven they are finished off with a small dollop of dulce de leche and a black M&M for the pupil. In the end the powdered sugar cookies were slightly favored between the two, because in the oven it takes on a creamy, almost melty texture on the outside. If you’re familiar with the Argentinian sandwich cookies alfajors – they remind me a little bit of that, but with a kiss of chocolate in the middle. Aww yiss.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

For the pupils I used a black M&M candy… except it was actually a knock-off M&M from Party City. At first I tried using a dark chocolate chip with the flat side up, but given how dark my dulce de leche was it didn’t provide the contrast I was looking for. If you have a lighter caramel sauce that you’re using you might be able to get by with chocolate chips, brown M&Ms, brown Reeses Pieces, or whatever easily available candy you have access to. While at Party City I also noticed they sold mini packets of black Sixlets for 7 cents each. Pick up a few of those and you’re good to go, and it will be cheaper than buying a bag of the black M&M style candies. I prefer the taste of M&Ms over Sixlets though, so I was willing to shell out a couple of dollars for them. Another optional step I took was mixing my dulce de leche with a little bit of edible pearl dust. Because my dulce de leche was so dark, I wanted to try and lighten it a tad. The pearl dust also gave it a really pretty extra level of dimension and a consistency that was a nicer to work with. I took a picture to show the two side-by-side.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

I think almost all of the steps in this recipe are suitable for little helping hands. One part that should remain an adult responsibility is creating the indentations for holding your caramel. Unlike most thumbprint style cookies, you’re not going to create the cavity before baking. While the cookies are still warm from the oven, gently press the back of a teaspoon (or whatever else you have around for the job) into each one. It will flatten out slightly and get a few cracks around the edges. Don’t fret over the cracks- that’s what produces the nifty vein effect in the eyes, particularly with the blood shot variation.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

If you’ve got an upcoming Halloween party and you want to bring an easy themed dessert, these cookies might be just what you’re looking for. Depending on the size of your balls (HA!) you will get about 3 dozen cookies from the batch. I would say it’s feasible to get all 3 dozen finished in about an hour, so they would work well as a last minute treat too. And you know, what’s with all of the eyeball cookies being blue and green? It’s time to get some brown-eyed love up in hurr!

Eyeball Butter Cookies

Eyeball Halloween Cookies
Serves 36
A simple, soft vanilla cookie with dulce de leche makes an easy Halloween themed dessert.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/3 cup white sugar
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1/4 cup powdered sugar or granulated sugar for coating, plus more as needed
  8. 1/2 cup dulce de leche or other caramel of choice
  9. Black M&Ms
  10. Red or pink food coloring, optional
  11. Pearl dust to mix with your caramel, very optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time until well combined.
  4. If doing the bloodshot styled eyes, mix in your food coloring, otherwise skip this step. I would also recommend adding a small amount of red color to the caramel for the bloodshot eyes as well.
  5. Measure out small amounts of dough (I used a melon baller to ensure they were consistent in size) and roll into roughly 1″ balls.
  6. Put granulated or powdered sugar (powdered sugar is necessary for the bloodshot eye effect) in a small ziplock baggy. Coat each dough ball with sugar and transfer to baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between each one – I was able to fit one dozen on a sheet. If using powdered sugar make sure to be very generous with the coating. When you think you have enough do a little bit more. Skimping on the sugar will result in a cookie that is more an all over pink rather than contrasting white and pink.
  7. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 11-15 minutes. 11-12 minutes will give you a soft cookie whereas 14-15 minutes will give you a crunchy cookie.
  8. Remove cookies from oven and while still hot, immediately press the back of a teaspoon into each one to create a small cavity for your caramel.
  9. Put a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) of caramel in the center of each cookie. I find that doing this while the cookie is warm makes it easier. The warmth softens the caramel and let’s it fill out the edges and get smooth on top with almost no effort.
  10. Place one black candy in the center of each cookie.
  11. Transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
Calories
  1. 110
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Eyeball Butter Cookies