joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

turtle cookies.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in my life. Lots of things have been happening since mid-February. Midterms got in the way. I started going to a Zumba class to make a fool of myself in public. March showed up. Spring showed up for a few days and then left again. We had a snowstorm at school. And now it is Spring Break and I get to bake and knit and hang out with my cat to my heart’s desire. I also have a long list of things to do, but they probably aren’t gonna happen until Friday or Saturday.

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Big news! For graduation my awesome parents got me a stand mixer! I’m so excited about it that I can’t even put it into words. It’s ‘imperial gray’ which is one of my favorite colors. It’s so pretty and gorgeous and I am in love with it. (That’s cool, right?) I made cookies with it tonight. They were awesome. So was the mixer. I’m in love.

Sometimes instead of paying attention in class I write recipes. Two and a half hours is a long time to sit in class and not do anything, so my mind tends to wander. Or I fall asleep. It’s just real life. I can’t stay awake that long talking about….stuff that I can’t remember right now. It just happens and I feel no shame…okay. Maybe a little shame.

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These cookies are delicious. I thought of these cookies in my night class. There was also soup on my brain that night. That’ll come later this week. My family has this awesome cookie that we use all the time. My mom found it in a magazine forever ago and we just adapt it to different things whenever we want to. The chocolate cookie base is awesome by itself; cakey and chewy. But when you add things to it and it takes this cookie over the top. This one includes pecans, caramel bits, and some milk chocolate chips. Eat one right out of the oven and you will know. Amazing.

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When we lived in this tiny town there was this store called Country Cupboard. We used to go there all the time to buy Beanie Babies (because they’re awesome). They sold all these handmade candies and one of them was called the Mississippi Sliders or something like that. It was caramel and pecans covered in chocolate; basically a turtle. But my 12 year old self loved those things because I felt like such an adult for liking something so fancy. These cookies aren’t exactly fancy, but they take me back to those simple days where the only concern was which Beanie Baby to pick out. Now there’s real life to worry about. Scary stuff, man. I’m just going to eat a lot of cookies until everything seems okay.

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Make some cookies. Make a fool of yourself at Zumba. Get coffee with one of your best friends. Don’t fall asleep in class.

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Turtle Cookies
adapted from Quick Cooking 2000
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups caramel bits (or just chopped caramels if you can’t find bits)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until fluffy then add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir well in between each addition. Fold in caramel, pecans, and chips with a spatula. Using a medium sized cookie scoop spoon onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-11 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. After baking cool on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes and then move to a cookie rack to complete cooling.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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peppermint crinkle cookies.

Right now there’s a blizzard outside my house. Well, not quite a blizzard but there’s snow flying everywhere and it’s super windy. I think it counts. What’s the best way to ride out a blizzard? Let me give you my three top choices: knitting, baking, and watching Christmas movies. We’ve already watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, and we just started Elf. My favorite Christmas movies are the old-school ones. Like White Christmas. Love it. My absolute favorite is The Year Without A Santa Claus. I don’t know why but it is.

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We’ve been doing a lot of baking these last few days because my mom always gives out cookie trays at Christmas but I found this recipe and wanted to give it a try. Peppermint is one of my favorite things especially during the winter. It just makes sense. Crushing peppermint is even better because you get to take out all your aggression on something and it makes everything better.

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There are so many good Christmas cookie recipes and we have a ton in our family, but it’s always okay to add a few more. There can never be too many cookie recipes. At least that’s how I feel. These are great because the powdered sugar on the outside gives them an extra kick of sweetness. Plus when they come out of the oven the peppermint is a little melty and delicious. These are soft and chewy which makes the best kind of cookie.

DSCN0438So I encourage you to make some cookies, have a cup of tea, watch your favorite Christmas movie, and enjoy a snowy day. Make the most of today.

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Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

recipe from Lauren’s Latest

makes 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies

3 candy canes, crushed

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly until just combined. Stir in the crushed up peppermint. Put the powdered sugar on a plate. Roll the dough into balls using a cookie scoop to make sure they’re mostly the same size. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on the cookie sheets. Repeat until all the dough is used. Bake for 9-11 minutes. You want the cookies to be barely browned on the bottom. They shouldn’t be shiny, just have a matte finish look to them. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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pre-Christmas goodies.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching which means lots of things. I get to go home on Tuesday. The yearly eye doctor appointment is coming up. I get to go to the yarn store. Green bean casserole. Mashed potatoes. Chocolate chip pecan pie. And, at work, we decorate for Christmas. We always decorate the music building the Sunday before we leave for Thanksgiving break. (I know you aren’t supposed to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving is over, but it’s the best time to do it.) I’m in charge of snackage. Always.

Last year I went way overboard with food and we had way too much. I toned it down this year and made a few things. Somehow I still managed to spend all day on Saturday baking. Oh well. I (not so) secretly love it.

This year I made:
Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Sugar Cut-Out Cookies with Homemade Frosting
Pretzel Kiss Thing
Peppermint Bark
Oreos Dipped in White Chocolate and Crushed Peppermint

Some of these things are not so complicated to make. Example: dip oreos in melted almond bark and dip in crushed candy canes. Put on wax paper and let harden in fridge. Easy as pie. Heck, easier than pie. Peppermint bark is also super easy. Melt almond bark and stir in crushed up candy canes. Spread on wax paper and harden in fridge. You can jazz it up a bit by doing a layer of dark chocolate first, but it’s good either way. If you add more chocolate that means we can be friends.

I wish I had a picture of the pretzel things I want you to make. But…they all got eaten. They’re really popular. They’re also super easy though. And the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Like trail mix but waaaaaaay better.

Make some goodies. Watch an entire season of Downton Abbey in one night. Decorate a tree. Be thankful.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

makes as many as you want

Preztels

Chocolate kisses

Regular M&Ms (or peanut butter ones, I won’t be picky)

Preheat the oven to 150-200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread pretzels out on the cookie sheet. Unwrap the chocolate kisses and put one kiss on each pretzel. (This is best done while watching a movie.) Put the sheet in the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until the kisses are melty. Test this by pressing one M&M into the kiss; if it sinks down all the way they’re ready. If not, leave them in the oven for a couple more seconds. It doesn’t take long. When the kisses are melty, remove from the oven and smush one M&M into each kiss. (Also, best done while watching a movie.) Chill in the fridge until firm. Eat by the handful.

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martha’s snickerdoodles.

This, my friends, has been a long time coming. Remember last week when I said I was making snickerdoodles that night and then totally didn’t? Yeah that happened. Life got super stressful, I was letting myself believe I wasn’t good enough for anything, and things were going poorly. But! This week is better. I’ve had different thoughts about how things should go in my life, I had a really good oboe lesson yesterday, and I made these awesome cookies. Life is looking up.

Snickerdoodles are (to me) the essential fall cookie. They’re so fall-sish with the cinnamon sugar coating. Love it. The best thing about these cookies right now is that I’m taking them with me to visit an awesome family this weekend. My friends Katina and Bethany and I are roadtripping over to our friend/old boss Amanda over at Inside the PH (adorable baby pictures here!!). Her husband, Matt of Modern Day Matthew, told me when they moved that I couldn’t visit unless I brought cookies. So here we are. Cookies.

These are some of the best snickerdoodles I’ve eaten. Probably right after Grandma’s because no one beats her cookies. They’re Grandpa’s favorite. This is Martha Stewart’s recipe because I needed one that didn’t call for cream of tarter. It’s not a bad thing, I just don’t have any. My bad. These bake up really nicely. They were perfectly crunchy from the slightly caramelized sugar and cinnamon on the bottom yet still soft in the middle. That’s pretty near perfect.

Bake some cookies. Visit old friends. Think before you speak. Let yourself relax.

Martha’s Snickerdoodles

makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 and 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

cinnamon sugar: 2 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set the flour mixture aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture and combine well. Slowly add the flour mixture, about a cup at a time. Mix on slow or by hand until all of the flour is mixed very well into the dough. Repeat until the entire flour mixture has been used. Use a cookie scoop, or by measure by eye, to make even sized balls of dough. Roll the dough in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6 minutes then rotate the pan in the oven and bake for an additional 3-4 minutes. The cookies are done when they edges barely turn golden brown and the middle is just set. Remove pan from oven and cool cookies on pan for 2-3 minutes and then move to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store extra cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

An update:
I’m doing better. I read a whole book yesterday. I’m rediscovering my love for knitting. I’m starting to like playing and practicing oboe again. I looked at grad schools again. I’m making progress.

I also made cookies. It helped…a lot. My roommates and I are still eating them. Normal.

It seems like cookies are either amazingly delicious or not. At least that’s how it goes for me. Let’s talk about the basics of cookies. Sometimes you just need to take it back there.

Butter: Softened. Not melting or rock hard. This can be a relative term because sometimes you never know. I usually let my butter sit out for about 45 minutes to an hour. It should sink in a little bit when you push on it, but not melty. That’s no good. You can put butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it, but I usually only use this as a last resort.
Unsalted. You never know the amount of salt that companies use in salted butter. This can effect the way your cookies taste. It’s better for you to control the salt in your cookies.

Sugar: Brown or white/granulated? Brown sugar gives cookies a lot of flavor. It also keeps the cookie a lot more moist because of the molasses in the sugar. White sugar is also great it cookies but creates a lot flatter, more crisp cookie. I like to do half brown-half white sugar, but even doing more of the brown sugar is totally okay in my book.

Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract. Use it. Love it. I grew up using Mexican vanilla because that’s what my mom always got, but it’s totally preference. Be you. Some recipes say to add vanilla near the end of the mixing process but at that point it’s harder to mix in to everything. Solution? Add the vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. This allows it to permeate that part of the dough and you get lots of vanilla flavor. Amazing.

After you get the basics down all you do is dump and mix. Well…that’s basically it.

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Make some cookies. Eat too much candy corn. Read The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury. Remember to smile.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted slightly from Betty Crocker

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until well combined. Stir in all the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or on the cooling rack for easy access.

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(not your usual) monster cookies.

Some thoughts about my first day of senior year:
Being on stage for the entirety of the first chapel of the year is cool….wait, Dr. B is making seniors stand up? Alright then…
Why the heck did I wait so long to take General Biology?!
Flat major three? Sus-4? These aren’t real things…right?
I need to go practice.
Where did all these freshmen come from?
I need to eat a bunch of cookies right now.

As you can see by the above statements and questions I am a crazy person. But that’s okay. Cookies usually make these thoughts better.

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I have some very fond memories of monster cookies from my childhood. My dad is a band director and every year at the end of marching season my mom would make cookies for the whole band. She has a recipe for about 100 cookies and mixes everything in this plastic tub because it can’t fit in a mixer. One year, a really long time ago, one guy did the chicken dance for one of their marching shows so my mom made him the biggest cookie. It was almost the size of one of those cookie pizzas, and he got the entire thing all to himself! So lucky.

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I didn’t use my mom’s recipe for this (mostly because it was going to require math and I don’t do math past 8:00 at night) but I found one online that is super delicious. And there is no flour in it! Crazy!

One thing I did differently: use peanut butter M&Ms. Guys. Seriously. This is UH-mazing. My friend Bethany and I discovered this one day because peanut butter M&Ms were on sale so we got a bag of those and made monster cookies. So dang good.

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So make some cookies. Enjoy your day. Try and be nice to people.

Monster Cookies

adapted from Recipe Girl

makes about 4 and 1/2 dozen cookies

1 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 and 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 to 1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup (give or take a handful) peanut butter M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl cream together peanut butter, butter, and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat again. Mix in the baking soda. With a spatula mix in the oats until evenly distributed. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms. Use a large cookie scoop to heap onto the cookie sheets. Bake for about 9-11 minutes or until the edges are barely golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

These cookies will last 3-4 days stored at room temperature.

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today I…

Today I have done these things:
Drove back from DCI World Championships with 21 pretty cool people
Stayed up until 4 in the morning baking 15 dozen cookies
Watched an entire movie
Woke up at 7:30 and showered
Made and baked gluten free cookies
Wrote this for you

Today I will do these things:
Say goodbye to one of my best friends moving far far away
Skip church (sorry Jesus…)
Bake more cookies
Meet about 100 new people that I will spend the next 2 weeks with
Lose my voice
Remember to smile
Buy 6 gallon + one pint things of vanilla ice cream
Help cook hot dogs and hamburgers for almost 200 people
Talk in front of a large group of people
Make 200 root beer floats
Sleep

This means that band camp has officially started.

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again…sleet and snow and freezing cold. We’ve still got a couple months before that though.

Pray for me.

I’ll be here as much as possible. I’ll bake you something. Hopefully.

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family week. and no bake cookies.

This week was not only the hottest week we’ve had in a really long time, but it was also the week when my cousin Aaron married his wonderful fiance, Liz. It was a really excellent time for our family to get together and celebrate life. The picture to the left is of the guy cousins with our grandpa and the girl cousins with our grandma. See those two guys on the left that look exactly alike? Those are my ridiculous brothers. They aren’t twins, but they sure do look like it. I’m the one second from the right, just in case you haven’t figured out who I am yet. Don’t worry; there’s time for that.

My extended family is awesome. And they throw pretty sweet weddings. We had these chocolate chip M&M cookies that were amazing. I am determined to recreate them, so keep an eye out. Also these beef skewers marinated in something wonderful. I’ll work on those too. Good things happen when my family gets together.

We’re a food family. When we get together we eat. My grandma is the best baker I know. She makes homemade cinnamon bread and sweet rolls and so many other good things. During Christmas, you’ll find at least seven kinds of cookies in her kitchen (seven is a Biblical number, so it works out). Those will be featured here later. It’s way too hot to turn the oven on today (except that I did…to make scones…they didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped..gotta work on that..).

Here’s the thing about no bake cookies: there are so many recipes for them that it’s hard to figure out which ones are good. This one is awesome. It is ridiculously easy and so good. I will seriously eat dozens of these by myself. They aren’t quite what you expect from no bakes, but they are great for summer days when you don’t want to bake anything. It starts with butter, sugar, and milk. Three very great things that you usually can’t go wrong with. Just stick this in the microwave for a few minutes until everything is melted and mixed together. Then you just throw in the rest of the ingredients, mix everything up with a spatula, and then drop them onto wax paper.

It’s that simple. I promise you will adore these. The hardest part about making these is letting them cool. (sometimes I don’t even do that…real life) They have coconut in them, so be warned. But I have found that even people who don’t like coconut will eat these (my little brother for instance). Make these cookies, share them with your loved ones, and enjoy life. That’s what it’s for.

 

 

 

No Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 cups quick oats

5 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread out a sheet of wax paper on a table or counter top. In a large microwave safe bowl mix sugar, milk, and butter. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until the butter is melted and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Quickly mix in the oats, cocoa powder, coconut, and vanilla until everything is combined and thoroughly mixed. Drop onto the wax paper to cool. Serve at room temperature.

These cookies will last in an airtight container (or cookie jar) for 7-10 days. I recommend separating layers with wax paper so they don’t stick together.

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an award?! and celebration cookies.

I’m new to the blogging world, but I’ve gotten so much encouragement from people all over that it makes my heart happy. One such event occurred a couple days ago after Terri, from Terri’s Kitchen gave me (or nominated me for) The Very Inspiring Blog Award! I don’t even know what that means and I’m super grateful and encouraged by it! Thank you so much, Terri!

By receiving this award I am supposed to do a few things:

  • Display the award logo somewhere in the post
  • Link back to the blog of the person who nominated me
  • State seven things about myself
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award (so…I’m only doing 4 because I don’t know 15…I tried, I really did)
  • Notify those bloggers of their nomination and let them know the award requirement

So those who I am nominating for this:

And now for seven fun facts about myself:

  • I’ve been knitting for almost 11 years and love it.
  • I’m secretly a super nerd and love all things Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.
  • I have no idea what I want to do with my life and that scares me a little bit.
  • I find that the beach is a lovely place to be.
  • I’m a super bookworm and am always in search of awesome books
  • I love my cat. Her name is Coda (see right)
  • I made cookies for this occasion because everything is better with cookies. Fact. See recipe below.

I’ve had a Funfetti cookie mix in my pantry for forever and didn’t know what to do with it until now. Sandwich cookies!! Why didn’t I think of this before?! This is a super easy recipe and these are perfect for birthdays, random get-togethers among friends, or just to celebrate life. Those are the best times.

I have one rule. Do not use canned frosting. Seriously. Just don’t do it. It isn’t worth it and there are better things in life. Making your own frosting is simple and way better tasting. I guarantee it! I’m going to share with you my secret frosting recipe. If frosting is needed, this what I make. All my friends know if they get cupcakes for their birthday, they will have this frosting on top. They seem to be okay with it. I will eat this with a spoon it is so good. And it’s really simple too. Just a few ingredients and it’s complete. And you will have all of these in your pantry, so it’s a win-win.

You need an even number of cookies for this, so if you end up with an odd number and have to eat one I won’t tell anyone. These cookies are out of a box, so they are super easy to make. Just try to make every one the same size when you put them on the cookie sheet so that you won’t have to mix and match to find two that are the same size. It’s quite a time saver.

I thought I could mix this all together with a wooden spoon, but apparently I haven’t been to the fitness center quite enough and had to use my electric mixer. Things worked out in the end though. And these cookies turned out wonderfully. Underbaked just enough so they’re chewy and the frosting ties it all together. Oh my, oh my. Kids will love these as well because what kid doesn’t like a sandwich cookie? It’s like a birthday cake in a cookie! Perfect! So, I encourage you to make these cookies, share them, and then then listen to Mozart’s oboe concerto in C. Or just try and memorize it…because that’s normal.

Confetti Celebration Cookie Sandwiches

makes approx. 16 cookie sandwiches

for the cookies:

1 box Funfetti cookie mix

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

for the frosting:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg white

2 cups powdered sugar

flavoring of your choice (the amount will vary depending on what flavoring you choose)

food coloring of choice (I attempted a turquoise, so I used blue and green)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine cookie mix, butter, and egg in a medium sized bowl and mix until the dough forms. Scoop 2 inch balls onto the cookie sheet, being careful to make them the same size. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are browned. When cookies are baked, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 3 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Continue baking until all the cookie dough is used up. While the cookies are cooling mix the frosting. In a medium sized bowl combine butter, egg white, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and mix with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all the powdered sugar is used up. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the flavoring and mix. Add food coloring and mix well. When cookies are cooled, spread frosting on the bottom of one cookie as thick or thin as you prefer. Place another cookie on top with the bottom on the frosting. Repeat until all the cookies are used up.

 

If you have extra frosting, store it an airtight container in the fridge. Loosen it up with a little bit of hot water when you want to use it again.

These cookies will last in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I suggest storing them in the fridge, but they’ll be okay at room temperature too.

Thank you again Terri!!

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With All My Affection

A Montreal Lifestyle Blog

CreativeWhimsy

A blog about one person's creative attempts

"Give a girl an education..."

The random musings of a traveler turned grad student.

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Follow my journey in Oxford, England.

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I knit. I laugh. I dream.

Captain Awkward

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Learning to Speak

An Expression of Faith

Modern Day Matthew

A 21st Century Disciple

Inside the PH

Learning to Live Inside the Pastor's House

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Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story