Baking Time! PB Cookies, Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Shortbread!

I used to LOVE baking.  That was before I knew how to cook.  Now I love cooking because of the endless seasonings, proteins, and veggies to play with.  Baking is so precise and tedious, I'd be just fine leaving it to the hubby (who by the way can bake a mean cake...and decorate it like a pro too!)  But there is the odd time that I'm in the mood for making some sweet treats, and Thanksgiving seemed like the right time to do it.

I made these cookies for hubby's family since we went there for Thanksgiving dinner.  We didn't stick around for dessert so I'm hoping they enjoyed them.  I know that we are still enjoying the leftovers at home!

Let's start with the best chocolate chip cookie you will ever have.  This is the Doubletree Hotel's recipe.  If you have ever stayed at this fantastic hotel, then you know about the mouth-watering cookie I'm talking about.  The scent of fresh baked goodness hits your nose as you walk in like a ton of bricks, and all you want to do is hunt down the source of that smell.  Well now you can make them yourself at home...

Doubletree Hotel Cookies
1/2 c oats
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 c chocolate chips
1 1/2 c walnuts (I always leave these out)

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cream together butter, both sugars, vanilla and lemon juice in another bowl with an electric mixer.  Add eggs and mix until smooth.  Stir dry ingredients in to wet ingredients and blend well.  Add chocolate chips & nuts and mix by hand until well blended.  For best results, chill the dough overnight (I popped it in the freezer for a bit because I was in a time crunch.)  Spoon rounded 1/4 c portions onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Place scoops 2" apart.  Bake in a 350 oven 16-18 minutes (You will have to play with the timing.  The difference of 15-30 seconds could result in crunchy rather than soft cookies - atfer a while you will figure out what timing is best for your oven.)  Enjoy!!

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE peanut butter cookies.  They are divine!  Check out the super-simple recipe below - piece of cake!...or cookie?

Peanut Butter Cookies
**This recipe only makes 12 cookies, so increase as needed**
2 c peanut butter
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine ingredients and drop by teaspoonful on a cookie sheet.  Flatten with a fork (I spray my fork with cooking spray first so it doesn't stick.)  Bake for 8 minutes.  You can't get any easier than that!!

Lastly, there are the Melt In Your Mouth Shortbread Cookies...they literally melt in your mouth, no chewing required.  This is also a very simple recipe. 

Melt In Your Mouth Shortbread
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 1/2 c flour

Preheat oven to 375.  Whip butter with electric mixer until fluffy.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Beat on low for 1 minute, then hight for 3-4 minutes.  Drop cookies in spoonfuls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, being careful that your edges don't brown.

So there you have it folks - having fresh-baked cookies waiting for your kids to grab up isn't only for the Martha Stewart's of the world.  It's fast and easy and at least you know what's going into their little control the ingredients.  Enjoy!!