Holiday

Cherry Kiss Cookies

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday! Here we are at day eleven of Lemon & Mocha’s 12 Days of Cookies and I’ve definitely been saving some of the best for last. First of all, let’s just discuss how pretty these Cherry Kiss Cookies are! With their pink hue they certainly would be fitting for Valentine’s Day, but they also add a great pop of color to a Christmas cookie platter.

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

If there was ever a cookie to be described as melting in your mouth, it would be these pillowy Cherry Kiss Cookies. They are soft, buttery and have just the perfect amount of cherry flavoring. There’s also a chocolate Hershey Kiss in the center of every cookie, which is always a delicious bonus.

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cherry flavor in these cookies comes from cherry extract and chopped maraschino cherries, both which get mixed right into the batter. If you remember my Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops I had a difficult time finding cherry extract in the grocery store so instead I used raspberry extract. Since I now have a big bottle of raspberry extract from those cookie pops I actually used it instead of cherry extract for these cookies as well. So I guess they are technically Cherry Raspberry Kiss Cookies. Either way you make them I’m sure you will be hooked. I saved these for right before Christmas because the dough requires no chilling and they’re very easy drop cookies to make so they would be a great last minute baking project.

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookies look very soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool. I left mine in the oven until I noticed just a couple of the cookies had started to very lightly brown on the edges, which can be difficult to notice at first since the cookies are pink.

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used milk chocolate kisses since that is what I had on hand, but you could experiment with different kinds as I think the dark chocolate kisses would be extra tasty in these. Okay, only a few more days until Christmas! What are you baking this weekend?

Cherry Kiss Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cherry Kiss Cookies
 
Yield: 28 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons cherry extract, see note
  • 5 drops red food coloring
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 28 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, making sure oven racks are in the upper and lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on low speed to combine then medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cherry extract and food coloring. Beat until combined. Add the flour and beat on low until only a few streaks remain. Use a spatula to stir in the chopped cherries.
  3. Use a medium cookie scoop to balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. I put 14 on each of my half sheet pans; the cookies spread a little, but not a lot. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a couple of the cookies just start to very lightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Once the cookies have cooled for 2 minutes on the pan, remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes
If you don’t have cherry extract, raspberry extract also works really well.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

We’re here for day ten of the Lemon & Mocha 12 Days of Cookies! Even though I have three more recipes scheduled to post before the end of 2019, the post for these Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies that you are reading now is the last one I wrote right before my post-baby blog break started!

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The only reason I was shuffling around the kitchen baking these cookies in my compression socks and the last remaining outfit that would fit over my big belly was because I had to wait for the red and green M&M’s to arrive in the stores. I wanted them to look pretty and festive for the photos, especially since the post is so close to Christmas. Usually I’m the first to shake my head when I see grocery stores putting holiday items out months in advance, but of course this time I was actually complaining about them not having Christmas items out early! Go figure.

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

So let’s talk about these Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies. They’re buttery, chewy and definitely chocolate-packed. I’m declaring these cookies the chocolate chip cookie lover’s perfect holiday-spiced cookie.

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

They have the same soft, chewy texture and buttery brown sugar flavor you get from chocolate chip cookies, plus the added bonus of gingerbread flavors through molasses, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Also, between the chocolate chips and the M&M’s they are chock-full of chocolate goodness.

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The good news is, as my swollen feet/ankles/calves/aka everything-below-my-belly can attest to, these cookies are super simple to whip up so you can be done in the kitchen and kicked back eating platefuls of Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies in no time! Enjoy!

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Soft Gingerbread M&M Cookies
 
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 10-ounce bag M&M’s (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar, for rolling
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and molasses on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture then beat on low speed until only a few flour streaks remain. Add the M&M’s and chocolate chips (leaving some aside - we’ll press these into the rolled balls so they look pretty!) and stir until just combined. Scoop out 1½ tablespoons of dough (if using Oxo cookie scoops use a medium cookie scoop) and roll into a ball. Roll the ball into the granulated sugar then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookie dough. Lightly press an M&M and a chocolate chip into the top of each cookie ball. This will make sure they look nice and pretty!
  5. Bake for 12 minutes then let cool on the cookie sheet placed on a wire cooling rack for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to the wire cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with 1 cookie sheet for the remaining cookie dough.

Recipe adapted from Something Swanky.

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

You knew I couldn’t stay away from the chocolate for too long! I’m catching us all up on chocolate by providing double the chocolate today. For day seven of Lemon & Mocha’s 12 Days of Cookies I present to you Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies! They should really be called double chocolate double peppermint cookies since, you guessed it, there’s both double the chocolate and double the peppermint, but I figured one “double” would work just as well.

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Do these round, dark and slightly crispy cookies look familiar? If they do, it’s because we’re using the same cookie base from the Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cookie Pops recipe. Back in February, Matt and I couldn’t get enough of the buttery dark chocolate cookies. The first time I posted this cookie base I described them as a buttery version of the Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle and that is so spot on. Except this time, we’re dipping them in peppermint-flavored melted semisweet chocolate and sprinkling crushed candy canes on top to make them extra festive.

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

A couple months ago I shared these cookies with some friends and they were a big hit. I love when recipes like these are a big hit. And by recipes like these I mean recipes that are easy! So easy!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

First of all, the cookie dough comes together in a food processor. I use this 14-cup food processor by Cuisinart. The dough is pulsed together then cold butter cubes are added and you continue to pulse until the dough completely comes together, just like if you were making a pie crust. Cold butter also means no waiting for ingredients to come to room temperature – hurray!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I made the cookie pops, the cookie dough was rolled out, but to simplify things even more I’ve adjusted these to be made as slice-and-bake cookies. The dough comes out of the food processor and is rolled into a log in plastic wrap. Pop it into the fridge overnight or until firm and then it’s time to slice the dough into rounds and bake up the cookies! Once cooled, a quick dip into some minty melted chocolate and some sprinkling of peppermint candy and you’re done! Yum! I hope you all enjoy these!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Candy canes, crushed, for decorating
  • White sanding sugar for decorating, optional
Directions
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, granulated sugar and salt. Once combined, add the cold butter cubes and the vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture looks like it has larger crumbs and will hold together when pinched. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or clean work surface and press the dough into a ball. Knead the dough a few times. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and work it into a log with a 2.5-3 inch diameter. Roll the dough log in the plastic wrap (I usually continue rolling and shaping it while it’s wrapped in plastic). Refrigerate the dough log until firm or overnight.
  2. Make sure oven racks are positioned in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees F. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into ⅜-inch thick cookies and arrange 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 25-27 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pan on a wire cooling rack then transfer cookies to the wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  3. Once the cookies are completely cool, melt the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then continue microwaving and stirring in 15 second intervals until it’s melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Dip a cooled cookie halfway into the melted chocolate, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and sprinkle with crushed candy canes and white sanding sugar (if using). Repeat for the rest of the cookies, melting more chocolate if needed. Towards the end I didn’t want to melt more so I just used a spoon to help spread it on the remaining cookies. Place in the fridge until the chocolate sets then remove and store at room temperature.

 

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy December! December is clearly the king of all months when it comes to cookies so it only makes sense to share a royally epic cookie recipe for my first post of the month. Here on day six of Lemon & Mocha’s 12 Days of Cookies we’re all about these Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies.

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

These are my favorite cookies I’ve ever made. I know, I know, such a bold statement! Especially when there’s no chocolate and they’re decorated cookies so you’re probably wondering who I am and what happened to Lauren. However, they are my favorite cookies I’ve ever made because they’re the first cookie where I’ve gone out of the box and truly experimented with flavor – and they turned out amazing. So amazing that I ended up having to make multiple batches of them last holiday season.

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

After plenty of trial and error, these sugar cookies are tender and have the perfect balance of rosemary and lemon flavoring. Both are present without either being too overpowering and they both add something unique and that-was-so-good-I-need-another-one-ness to the cookies.

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The glaze on top is lightly flavored with lemon as well and it adds just the right amount of sweetness to the cookies. Plus, it makes them look extra cute and festive!

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The inspiration for these cookies came from watching all the different holiday baking competition shows last year. There were a few times the bakers used savory herbs in their recipes and I was so intrigued by the idea and the judges positive reactions that I figured I would give it a shot. I never thought a lemon rosemary cookie would be in my must-bake holiday cookie line-up, but here we are! Enjoy, everyone!

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Rosemary Sugar Cookies
 
Yield: about 24 medium cookies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), slightly softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract (or ¼ teaspoon lemon oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Zest from ½ large lemon
for the icing
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2 - 2½ tablespoons room temperature water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Green sanding sugar and sprinkles, for decoration
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium-high speed. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon extract, almond extract and lemon zest. Beat on high until fully combined.
  4. Add half the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined. Add the remaining half and beat until only a few streaks remain. If the dough feels too soft add an additional 1 tablespoon of flour.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Roll out the first half onto a piece of parchment until you have a slab about ¼” to ⅛” thick. Repeat with the remaining half. If the dough is too sticky to roll out, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes before rolling. Stack the parchment slabs on top of one another on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  6. Use a medium cookie cutter to cut out the dough. Place the cut cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake each cookie sheet for 9-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Cookies are done when they have lightly colored edges and tops. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack then move to the cooling rack to cool completely.
for the icing
  1. Whisk everything together, starting with the 2 tablespoons of water. When you hold up your whisk and let it drip, the icing should hold for just a few seconds before dripping. If it’s too thick add the additional ½ tablespoon of water. If it’s too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
  2. When the cookies are completely cooled, fill the icing in a pastry bag fit with a small tip to ice the cookies. Ice a few at a time before sprinkling with sanding sugar and sprinkles before they harden. I usually do this with the cookies set in a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper so sprinkles don’t go all over the place. Let the cookies set at room temperature for 24 hours to give the icing time to completely harden before stacking in containers.

 

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today is a very special day for two reasons! The first reason November 25, 2019 is so incredibly awesome is because I’m sharing these epic Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars with you all. I promise after you try these bars life will soon be B.D.C.P.B. (Before Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars) and A.D.C.P.B. (After Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars).

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Gooey, crunchy and loaded with pecans, these bars are really just that good. Plus, they have chocolate chunks in them, which always, always takes pecan pie to the next level. They are like your favorite pecan pie in an easy to eat bar form with a crust made from ground pecans, flour, sugar, salt and butter instead of a pie crust.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve eaten these Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars at a variety of temperatures and they all taste delicious. By that I mean the temperature of the bars, by the way, not the temperature outside, although I’m sure I would enjoy these bars in all weathers as well! Room temperature, chilled in the fridge or straight from the freezer have all resulted in perfectly tasty pecan bars. Then there was this one day when I decided to defrost a pecan bar I had frozen a little in the microwave and it got a little warm and it was melty and extra gooey and I’m starting to feel a little faint just thinking about it.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

I would talk about how you could add a little scoop of vanilla ice cream to it, but then I definitely might actually pass out from how amazing that sounds so I’m going to change gears and talk about the second reason today is special. It’s my stepmom’s, Diane, birthday! Yay! For those of you who have been following Lemon & Mocha for a while, you know that Diane loves chocolate and also pecan pie so it’s only fitting to post these bars on her birthday.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that these are cookies #3 in our 12 Days of Cookies series we’re doing this holiday season on Lemon & Mocha and they also are the Food Network Magazine November cookies so thumbs up to Food Network Magazine for coming up with such an awesome recipe!

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dark Chocolate Pecan Bars
 
Yield: 24 bars
Ingredients
for the crust
  • ⅓ cup pecans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut into cubes
for the topping
  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Directions
for the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13” baking pan with aluminum foil, being sure to leave a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. If not using nonstick aluminum foil, coat the foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until they are finely ground. Add the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the dough starts to clump together. The dough will still be crumbly and sand-like. Pour the pecan mixture into the prepared baking sheet and use your fingers to press down into an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
for the filling
  1. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Once smooth, stir in the pecans. Pour the filling over the warm crust as soon as it’s out of the oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks over top. Return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is set and doesn’t jiggle if you wiggle the pan. Place the baking pan on a wire cooling rack and let the bars cool completely in the pan. Once cool, remove from the pan and cut into squares.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

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