Especially here in Minnesota, Easter is one of those first milestones of spring. By this time of year we are getting some warmer weather, and that makes it a great time to make colorful and floral desserts. Below is a list of some of my favorite Easter desserts that you can make for the holiday, or on any of those nice spring days.
Everyone should have a great sugar cookie dough (or two) in their kitchen arsenal. The perfect sugar cookie bakes up crisp, sweet and able to handle a bit of icing without getting soggy. I’ve baked dozens over the years and Sarah Kieffer’s Olive Oil Sugar Cookie is one of my favorites, along with her Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe, both you can find in her best selling 100 Cookies book. It’s also where you’ll find her famous Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies and the amazing Peanut Butter Marshmallow Swirl Brownies (amazing!!!)! This is a must have book. You can watch my son, Henri and I make these Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze from Sarah’s book on his YouTube Channel “Baking with my Mother!”
It’s the perfect time for comfort food and these Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Stephanie Meyer’s The 30-Minute Paleo Cookbook are the ultimate snack to satisfy. They are super decadent and rich with flavor because they are made with almond butter. The cookies, like everything Stephanie creates, is gluten-free, in fact, these have NO flour at all and can also be made vegan. Stephanie is a friend, a sista blogger and the master at batch cooking healthy meals. She is one of the most spectacular home cooks I know, and her recipes are always absolutely delicious. The recipes in the book just happen to be Paleo, so if you have dietary restrictions all of her recipes will work in your daily meal planning.
Stephanie’s over-arching goal is to help people transform their health by cooking real food at home. Amen! The 30-Minute Paleo Cookbook is a great introduction to experimenting with fresh-food cooking and seeing how doable and delicious it is. Her Project Vibrancy Meals meal plans are a mapped-out system for making that happen most days of the week. The plans include menus, shopping lists, simple recipes, clean-up and storage instructions, and a community of supportive and knowledgeable people. I am a baker and not a cook, so her meal plans help me get actual food on the table, so my family has more than cake, pie, cookies, and bread! 😉
As many of you know, cookies were my first foray into the world of being a “professional” baker. Okay, I was 19, had zero clues what I was doing, but I loved cookies and so did everyone I fed them to. Since those first days baking cookies for my Zoë’s Cookies cart, I have probably eaten my body weight in cookie dough. It is one of the best parts of making cookies. Truth be told it has never made me at all squeamish to eat raw dough, but that’s just me and I know a lot of people are and maybe for good reason. So, when I heard about Dō, a cookie dough shop in NYC, I thought it was so brilliant and wondered how that took so long. I had the great pleasure of meeting Kristen Tomlan when I did an event in Brooklyn this spring and she’s just as fun and lovely as her cookie dough empire. Her method of making the cookie dough safe to eat is brilliant and I share a bit of the technique in my Instagram video.
When her book came I immediately made the chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies to pack up and send to my son at college. He said the chocolate chip cookies were immediately devoured by the kids in his dorm and he hid the oatmeal cookies so he could eat them without sharing. That’s my boy! One thing Kristen and I disagree on is what’s appropriate to add into the oatmeal cookie dough. She is very clear in the book about her disdain for raisins and I am TEAM RAISIN ALL THE WAY! I soaked them in rum and tossed them in without apology, despite her begging us not to violate her dough with the dried fruit. 😉 And, they were so delicious I made more to eat myself.
This is an updated post from one of my very first blogging efforts back in 2007. The recipe is wonderful, but my photos were a bit rough back then. You can see them at the end of the post, I kept them, because they are sentimental. This Holiday Sugar Cookies recipe is perfect for simple cut out cookies and for building a more intricate house. I live in a big house that makes me think of a wedding cake or confection. I have been meaning to create it out of cookies since I moved in and I finally did it. I think it will become an annual tradition and I imagine I will get more and more detailed with every try. This one was so much fun. I am lucky to have the original blueprints for the house, so it made it easier to trace the outline of the house, but I just approximated where I to, since it didn’t have to be built to stand for very long! 😉
2007 Post: My aunt Kristin is a great collector of recipes. She sends me packages of them, often! The recipes come from magazines, books, cooking shows, gourmet grocery stores and various people she meets. They are far too numerous to try all of them, but I use them as a constant source of inspiration. This past week, just in time for Christmas she sent me a sugar cookie recipe by Dorie Greenspan she had clipped from Bon Appetit and a set of snow flake cookie cutters. I am always searching for the perfect sugar cookie. I’m not sure yet if this is THE ONE, but it is really great. The flavor is not too sweet, slightly lemony (because I added the lemon zest) and the texture is crisp but not at all tough.
I decorated the holiday sugar cookies and house with royal Icing made with lemon juice, which is tasty, quite stunning and strong enough to hold up as the glue for the house. I’ll admit that I love the fussy work of intricate decorations on sugar cookies. It is the closest I will come to ever using my BFA from college. If you don’t share my enthusiasm for precision piping then just sprinkle them with colored sugar like my boys did and they are delicious and festive!
Obviously this recipe and technique are great for Valentines Day, Easter and any other holiday or special occasion when you celebrate with sweets! Which means every day…
These Contest Winning Coconut Cookies are from the Great Minnesota Cookie Book by Rick Nelson and Lee Svitak Dean. I often bake from books written by other bakers I admire, but sometimes inspiration comes, not from the professionals, but from our neighbors. The recipes they grew up baking, from their family traditions, have been time tested and in this case, have won first prize in the Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest. That is what this book is all about; real people, baking their hearts out and winning prizes. I love Mounds Bar candies (one of my favorite Halloween candy), which this cookie was inspired by, so this one grabbed my attention. I have a coconut macaroon recipe that is in constant rotation at the holidays, but I am always looking for something new to add to my repertoire. This recipe is super simple and full of coconut goodness. Rick Nelson graciously gave me permission to share the recipe from the book (Snowball Clippers recipe submitted by Becky Varone) with you and you can watch me make them in my instagram video.
I’ve had lots of requests for vegan recipes and I thought this one would be a perfect and easy one to make both gluten-free and vegan, so I have added my notes on how to do that. Read More