Monday, December 14, 2009

A Cookie Tour Vol.3

Here’s what it looks like when teenagers make the Christmas cookies:

Teenager cookies wm.jpeg

Kind of like Tokidoki.  I don’t know why Mr. Gingerbread Man is nothing but bones.  Love the Spongebob looking eyeballs.

On to one of my favorite Christmas cookies, Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints.  What a long name.  I think I’ll just call them Raspberry Thumbprints.  The combination of crisp, almond flavored shortbread hooked up with Raspberry jam is perfect to me.  There’s a reason I only make these at Christmas and that is because I want to eat a lot of them!  Part of my recipe is planning ahead for friends to give them away to so that only a respectable amount are left within “gettin’ range”.  I haven’t made them yet (made something else yummy this weekend…) but I looked up the Land O’ Lakes site for you with the recipe.  So, I also have to borrow their picture:

Raspberry ThumbprintsPretty, aren’t they?  Click on, Raspberry Thumbprints, if you want to make some of this goodness. 

This weekend I made Ina’s Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Butter Cream.  Another really long name!  It’s basically a jazzier version of Libby’s Pumpkin Roll found on the back of their label.  Here’s the recipe

Pumpkin Roulade wm.jpeg

It really is easy to make even if it looks fancy and difficult.  I’m going to encourage you to try it if you’re looking for a new pumpkin dessert.  Here are a few hints: 

My local grocer only had an 8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese and it’s a little pricey, so I substituted cream cheese for the other 4 oz.

I didn’t have heavy cream handy either (used it for the mashed potatoes for dinner the night before…) so I substituted regular milk.

I buy crystallized ginger at Central Market in the bulk bins.  It looks like this:

crystalized ginger wm.jpeg

One last thing. I’ll admit I stopped to think about flipping the cake out of the pan onto the heavily powder sugar dusted towel.  All I could picture was a  Krakatau type of event.  But the flip out was happily uneventful!

I have to go!  I have just a few more things to pick up and there are only 10 more shopping days till the big day!

Happy Baking!                             

“C is for cookie, it's good enough for me; oh cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C.”                - Cookie Monster

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Cookie Tour Vol. 2

My friend and faithful blog follower, Mary, shared one of her favorite Christmas cookies with me.

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They’re called Pizzelles.  Very dainty and fancy, aren’t they?  I frosted mine with powdered sugar.  They’re so nice and light with tea.  Here’s Mary’s Cookie Tour memory:

“When I was a kid growing up in Ohio , my Mom and her sisters loved anise pizzelles. Although at the time I thought they were “okay”, as I have aged so have my taste buds. Now I really appreciate the licorice flavor and the delicate crispy texture. I think what I liked best about the pizzelles was when they appeared I knew Christmas was soon to follow. Merry Christmas 2009!”  -Mary 

I have a favorite Christmas cookie that I’ll post in the Cookie Tour Vol. 3, but first, here’s the promised everyday cookie:

Our family has a favorite “everyday” cookie.  You probably thought that by “everyday” I meant a common, ho hum cookie.  That’s not it.  I mean, a cookie you must eat everyday.  See?  There’s a difference. 

We love these cookies.  If you are sitting on the edge of your seat, I apologize in advance for what may seem anti-climatic in their name.  But, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies are just great cookies!  With six people in the house they don’t last long.  We kind of have a rule about the cookies which is followed, I now realize, very loosely and interpreted very differently by each family member. 

It goes like this: on the first day I make the cookies, we all have some with milk.  It’s a little cookie dunking “par-tay”! 

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Then, (this is the loosely followed and misinterpreted for personal gain part), I put the remainder of the cookies, by three’s, into snack bags which then get frozen. 

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These little, snack “grab bags” are supposed to be (in an ideal world) packed into lunches all week.  The reality of the situation is that somebody, at some point in the day, grabs one of those bags (we eat them frozen, warmed, whatever) and then another somebody sees them eating those cookies and they grab a bag and so on and so forth until 3 days later there are no more cookies for lunches.  Then, you hear mumblings and grumblings as those who weren’t “in” on this little snatch and grab job realize, as they peek into the freezer, the current cookie state of affairs.

It’s kind of sad and I do feel bad, as the mother figure, for the grumblers but you can bet your favorite Christmas sweater that I do my best to be “in” on the “loosely followed and misinterpreted for personal gain” part. 

But, any who…  here is the recipe:

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal  Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups uncooked regular oats (Quick,1 minute cooking type)

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup pecan pieces, optional

Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and creamy.  This takes a minute or two.  You want the sugar to be less gritty in the butter.  You’ll see the difference as the butter and sugar turn a lighter color.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing in well.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  I do this on a paper plate which makes it easy to then pour into my butter mixture.  Add flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well.  Stir in oats.  You’ll probably have to do this by hand unless you have a super, duper mixer.  Stir in chocolate chips and (if you want) pecans.  Drop by rounded tablespoons on to ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cool slightly on baking sheets (just long enough so they don’t fall apart when you remove them) and transfer to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 5 dozen

Cookies 1 wm.jpeg Last of the summer flowers and the chocolate chips and oats.

Christmas time diet tip o’ the day:

“When I buy cookies, I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won't dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn't taste that bad.”      -Janette Barber (comedian)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Cookie Tour Vol. 1

(Sorry about the delayed blogging folks.  I started an outside, in addition to my inside, job and I think I will either lose my mind or find it.)

On to the good stuff…

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This picture is completely unrelated but I had to share it with you!  This is Traveling Man and he lives in downtown Dallas.  He usually isn’t so “jolly” but I dressed up him and his little bird friend to get us in the Christmas spirit.  My, but it’s cold outside!



I guess winter made up its mind to make an entrance and its just in time for Christmas.  My mind naturally giddy up’s to soups, sweaters and…  cookies and milk this time of year!  I thought I might take you on a favorite cookie “tour”. 

Have you noticed the stores are full of holiday cookies?  Most of these don’t even pique my interest.  But, when I spy with my little eye a Tim Tam, in America, in a store, I’m gonna have to buy it.  My friendship with Tim Tams started “Way back when” on my visits to see my parents in Australia.  Now, I can’t say that Australia had a wealth of interesting food but they made up for that with their Tim Tam’s.  Tim Tams are rectangles of chocolate covered goodness with thin chocolate cookies and chocolate cream sandwiched in between.  The “goodness” part comes in… buckle up folks, you don’t want to read this unrestrained… when you suck  your hot chocolate (or Milo for the Aussies) through your cookie.  Wow!  The cookie gets all melty and the chocolate sweetness is wonderfully intensified.  Then, you have to eat it real quick before the gooey mess melts into your cup.  And that, my friends, is what in the land Down Under they call a “Tim Tam Slam”.

I’m sure you’ll want to try it for yourself.

Tim Tam Slam wm.jpeg

Here are the mechanics

First, you have to find these cookies.  They’re made by Pepperidge Farm and somehow get here from Australia.  (I can’t concern myself with the “hows” of that.)  I found mine in the Holiday goodies section of Tom Thumb.  You’ll probably have to scour the store yourself to find them as both the stores I went to restock at (yes, I had to restock!) had never heard of the cookies and said they didn’t have them.  But “Oh yes indeedy” they did.  There is a caramel flavor and chocolate. 

Second, you need a hot drink.  Aussies drink a lot of Milo and tea with their “biscuits” which it seems we Americans don’t do as much.  It’s why we’re so stressed and cranky.  Milo is, is… well I really don’t know.  It tastes similar to hot chocolate to me and can be found around these parts on occasion but a good ol’ cup of hot chocolate or coffee will do. 

Third, you need to nibble off opposite corners of your cookie.  Pace yourself and don’t get carried away.  Just a nibble. 

Then, you slightly immerse one end of your nibbled cookie into your drink and suck up your cocoa through the other nibbled end.  It’s like a cookie “straw”.  There’s nothing graceful about this last step.  It’s a sacrifice you’re going to have to make. 

… and another then, you eat your cookie real quick!  It will be a blissed out, chocolaty, gooey mess. 

Listen to the angels sing.

Don’t complain to me about your thighs in January. 

Important news bulletin: Lovey just informed me that he saw a display of Tim Tam’s at Fry’s Electronics.  “Get your coat…”

  “Think what a better world it would be if we all,

  the whole world, had cookies and milk about

  three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down

  on our blankets for a nap.”

  - Robert Fulghum, 1987 at Middlebury College

 Next blog:  My favorite everyday cookie and Mary’s Pizzelles.