Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are soft, full of warm gingerbread spices, and have pretty, crackly-looking tops

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Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

To be honest, I’ve never been wild about gingerbread cookies. In my experience, they’re hard, dry, and just all around meh. It it just me? Or have I just been eating the wrong gingerbread cookies all along?

Regardless… THESE gingerbread cookies are something else entirely. They’re super soft and warmly spiced. The powdered sugar lends a bit more sweetness, in addition to allowing for the pretty, crackly tops.

Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

This delicious recipe comes from the blog Self Proclaimed Foodie. Based on the cookie scoop that I use, this recipe has consistently yielded 2.5 dozen. Depending on what you use, you may get 2-3 dozen.

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground gigner
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsb salt
  • 12 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup molasses*
  • tbs heavy cream (I did use milk one time, and it was fine)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low until combined.

Turn the mixer off and add the cut up butter. Mix again, but at medium-low speed, until all of the dry ingredients are coated in butter. This will take about 1-2 minutes.

Reduce the mixer’s speed to low. With it still running, slowly add the molasses and heavy cream. Mix until the dough is evenly moistened and everything is combined.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours (or up to overnight) or freeze for 20-30 minutes.

When it’s time to bake the cookies, line another baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the chilled dough in the granulated sugar until coated. Next, roll the dough in the powdered sugar.**

Place the dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet, approximately 1 inch apart from one another, and bake 10-12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven once they start to crack. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Notes:

*Spraying your measuring cup with cooking spray before pouring the molasses in helps keep the measuring cup mostly mess-free

**When it comes to rolling the dough in the powdered sugar, more is more. The first couple of times that I made these cookies, I skimped on the powdered sugar. Sure they looked like they were pretty much covered, but when they baked, the powdered sugar kind of melted. You’re going to want to really coat them in powdered sugar. See the photo below for what you’re aiming for.

Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

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Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules

Ring in the New Year with a sweet and bubbly Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mule!

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Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules | A Nerd Cooks

Yes, I’ve been super absent these last few months. Sorry, friends. As it does so often, life has gotten in the way of blogging. Fortunately, it’s been for very positive reasons.

At the risk of sounding like Taylor Swift (sorry, guys), 2017 has been a pretty great year. Yes, I know that most of the year has been trash, and that the world is a dumpster fire… but things have been good from a personal standpoint.

In addition to us having our health, jobs, family, friends, and all of that standard (but super important!) good stuff, there have been other important developments. My career development award was funded in August, I was promoted to Assistant Professor in October, and we bought our first house later that same month. All in all, life is treating us very well. Stay tuned for photos of our incredible new kitchen!

Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules | A Nerd Cooks

Though things have been crazy and busy, I wanted to close out things out with a delicious and bubbly cocktail that is perfect for ringing in the new year. Pomegranate juice provides color and sweetness (plus antioxidants!), ginger beer and lime lend a bit of bite, and champagne makes things extra bubbly. You won’t regret toasting the new year with this pretty cocktail.

Looking for more riffs on the Moscow Mule? Check out the Old Kentucky Mule, Caramel Apple Moscow Mule, Cranberry Vanilla Moscow Mule, and a slight variation on the original Moscow Mule.

Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules | A Nerd Cooks

You’ll need (makes 1 cocktail):

  • 1.5 oz plain vodka
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz champagne/sparkling wine
  • 3 oz ginger beer
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pomegranate arils and lime wedge, for garnish (optional)

Pour vodka, pomegranate juice, bubbly, ginger beer, and lime juice over ice and stir to combine. Garnish with pomegranate arils and a lime wedge if you’re feeling fancy.

Toast and sip!

Note: If you’d like a sweeter cocktail, you can decrease the amount of ginger beer and increase the amount of pomegranate juice.

I hope you all have a safe and very happy new year’s celebration. See you in 2018!

Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules | A Nerd Cooks

Pomegranate Champagne Moscow Mules | A Nerd Cooks

 

Most Popular Posts of 2017

Let’s revisit the most popular posts on A Nerd Cooks in 2017! This year’s list is a bit of a hodgepodge, though cocktails definitely dominated–4 out of 10 popular posts were boozy! Aside from the cocktails (and the cupcakes), your favorites look pretty healthyish. Good on you guys.

Now, let’s go to the list. Anything with an asterisk beside it was created in 2017.

  1. Dirty Coke Floats

Dirty Coke Floats | A Nerd Cooks

2. Broiled Grapefruit

broiled_grapefruit4-2

3. Pressure Cooker Green Chicken Chili*

Pressure Cooker Green Chicken Chili | A Nerd Cooks

4. Watermelon Nectarine Caprese Salad

Watermelon Nectarine Caprese Salad | A Nerd Cooks

5. Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins*

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

6. Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Taco Chicken*

Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Taco Chicken | A Nerd Cooks

7. Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

8. Coconut Mojitos

Coconut Mojitos | A Nerd Cooks

9. Blood Orange Bourbon Sours

Blood Orange Bourbon Sours | A Nerd Cooks

10. The Grapefruit Crush

Grapefruit Crush | A Nerd Cooks

Did any of your favorites make the list? What are you interested in seeing in 2018? Comment, tweet at me, hit me up on Facebook, or heck, follow me on Instagram, and let me know what you’d like to see!

Have a safe and happy new year’s celebration, everyone!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are chewy, sweet, and full of pumpkin and Fall spices.

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Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

So, it’s been a minute.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting something. I’m pretty sure I baked these cookies back in September… I even missed out on A Nerd Cooks’ birthday in August (the blog turned 6!!). In my defense, lots of things have been happening! To give you a little taste:

  • I/we have been doing a bit of traveling and have had friends and family visiting us.
  • I was promoted to Assistant Professor at Duke!
  • We bought a house!!

We moved in last weekend, and are so happy here already. I’ll likely share some photos of the kitchen at some point, because it is GORGEOUS. But only after the inside of the house stops looking like a tornado passed through.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

As for the cookies? Well, they’re pretty fantastic. Unlike many pumpkin cookies (like these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies), these are chewy, not cakey. You have the oats and drained/blotted pumpkin (see instructions below) to thank for that. Beyond that, these cookies are full of pumpkin spice flavor as well as chocolate chips. Scroll a little further for the recipe!

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction.

You’ll need (yields 30-36 cookies):

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups + 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for pressing into the top

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Line a medium-sized bowl with paper towels. Add the pumpkin puree to the lined bowl. Using the paper towels, squeeze a bit of the moisture out of the canned pumpkin. Check out Sally’s blog for a visual. Removing some of the moisture from the pumpkin helps produce a less cake-like cookie. Which is what we’re going for here.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and oats together. Set this aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the melted butter, maple syrup, sugars, egg yolk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop ~1.5 tbs-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Smoosh the dough balls down slightly. They don’t spread much on their own, so they need some help in this department. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies while they are still warm. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd CooksChewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

 

 

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins

These muffins are sweet, flavored with Fall spices, and incredibly moist thanks to the addition of roasted sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Up until today, it has still been HOT in North Carolina. Despite what the thermometer says, it’s Fall in my heart (and according to the calendar).

Pumpkin gets a lot of attention this time of year. I’m as guilty as the next guy of this, too. I love pumpkin. I’m a certified basic bitch, okay?

BUT there are other seasonal vegetables that deserve our attention. Take the humble sweet potato, for instance. They’re naturally sweet and delicious, a vibrant orange color, and perfect in baked goods.

These muffins are super moist, just like a pumpkin quick bread, and the honeyed pecans add a nice bit of crunch. They’re perfect for breakfast or a snack.Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

These muffins will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

You’ll need (yields 12 muffins):

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 cups sweet potato, about 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, roasted and mashed
  • 3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped, plus more for topping the muffins
  • honey, for drizzling onto muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together.  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, combine the sugars, eggs, oil, and mashed sweet potato until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.  Fold in the pecan pieces.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups (they will be very full).  Top with a few more pecan pieces. Drizzle the top of each muffin with a little honey. The honey helps the pecans on top to get candied a bit while baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

In search of additional sweet potato goodness? Check out these Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies! Or maybe you’re on the hunt for more breakfast treats? Try these Sweet Potato Waffles with Candied Pecans on for size.

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins | A Nerd Cooks

 

Kalimotxo Cocktail

Red table wine + cane sugar cola + a squeeze of lime juice = a refreshing, super easy cocktail.

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Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

I was flipping through a couple of cookbooks earlier this month and came across this recipe again. It’s the Kalimotxo cocktail. The Internet tells me that the Kalimotxo is popular in the Basque region of Spain. So, there you go. There’s that.

AND! A Kalimotxo is composed of… wait for it… red wine and soda! I know that this combination may sound strange, but trust me!

Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

I’m telling you, this drink is like sangria, but perfect for lazy people. Two ingredients (three if you count the lime juice) poured in a glass over ice and you’re done.

Because the ingredient list is so short, you really want to make sure that you’re using the correct ingredients. For the wine, you don’t need to use anything fancy. A cheap to moderately priced red table wine (I used a Rioja) will suffice. But for the soda, make sure you grab something that is made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. Have you ever had the Coke that’s made in Mexico (affectionately called MexiCoke)? It tastes SO much better than the stuff that’s made in the U.S. I’d go for that. It’s pretty widely available in regular grocery stores.

Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the cookbook Over Easy: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Leisurely Days, by Joy Wilson (aka Joy the Baker).

You’ll need:

  • Red table wine (I used an inexpensive Rioja)
  • Cane sugar soda (I used MexiCoke)
  • lime wedges, for juice and garnish
Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

Over ice, fill a glass half full with wine. Top with soda and squeeze a lime wedge. Garnish with another lime wedge if desired. Sip and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a sweet strawberry crumble bar!

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Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

So, yes. It’s been a while. I’ll save you the excuses. Let’s just cut straight to the food!

It’s not too late for strawberries, is it? I hope not, because these bars are tasty. The crumb is buttery and lightly sweet. Cinnamon plays surprisingly well with strawberries (check out this Strawberry Crisp for another excellent example). The filling is sweet, but not too sweet thanks to lemon zest and juice. Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe is based on the Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

You’ll need:

For the crumb –

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg

For the filling – 

  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 13 oz. strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.  Butter the sides and parchment, or spray with cooking spray, and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Pulse a couple of times until everything is combined.  Add the butter and egg to the flour mixture.  Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.

Taking half of the crumb mixture, pat it into the bottom of your prepared pan.  It will be on the thin side.

Rinse the food processor.  In the same bowl, add the filling ingredients and pulse briefly.  Do this until the berries are coarsely chopped but not puréed.  Spread this mixture evenly over the crumb base.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over top of the strawberry layer.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crumbs on top are lightly browned.  Allow it to cool completely before cutting it into squares.

Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks