Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's All About Cookies

I have 3 recipe boxes, several 3 ring binders and a row of cookbooks that I love to go through when the need strikes me.  I can go through them for hours.  It helps me to come up with new meal ideas.  I still have some of my old favorites that I continue to use over and over again though.  In fact if you open them, they will fall open to the pages I use most often.  They are stained and some sticky with use but I’ll never give them up. 

My two favorites were wedding gifts.  The first is Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook and the second is Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cookbook.

I also have a lot of the community and church cookbooks that are full of great country recipes.  They are full of neighbors sharing recipes they love that are traditional local recipes.

I love auctions and if I see cookbooks going up, I will usually bid on them.  I love the old cookbooks the best and it is an easy and sometimes cheap way of picking up some good cookbooks.  More and more people are collecting them now though so I usually have people bidding against me but that is the fun of an auction. 

So for this blog, I thought that I would share some of the recipes I continue to pull out of Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook and Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cookbook.  Apparently I like the cookie recipes the best because if I let either of these books fall open they always go to the cookie recipes.  I’ve written in the margins and made notes about doubling or how many the recipe really makes.  You can tell they are well used and loved.

So today it is all about cookies. 

May very favorite cookie is the Nestles Toll House cookie and their recipe is on every bag of their semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I have never found a better one and do not substitute the chocolate chips.  They must be Nestles or it does not taste the same. Just hot out of the oven and chewy, ewy good is the way I like them.  I'm very careful not to over brown them because I like them chewy (9 minutes not 11).  I then put them in a baggie to keep them that way.  My 2nd favorite is only available once a year when the Girl Scouts sell their thin mint cookies.  I do have a gluten free recipe for them, but they are not the same. What is your favorite?

Here are my other favorites out of these two books.  

Country Crisp Sugar Cookies 

This is the recipe I use for my Christmas sugar cookies.

½ cup butter or margarine (I use butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. heavy cream (No cream in the house use another table of butter)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Extra sugar for tops of cookies

Cream the butter with sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg, cream and vanilla.  Beat well.  Sift flour with salt and baking powder.  Add to creamed mixture, beating until well combined.  Chill dough overnight.

When ready to bake, start oven at 350 degrees.  Grease two or more cookie sheets lightly and dust with flour.  I now use a Silpat since this book is well over 43 years old. 

Roll out small amount of dough at one time.  Very thin, on lightly floured board.  Cut with scalloped cutter*.  Sprinkle cookies lightly with sugar or sprinkles.  Place on prepared sheets.

Bake 5 minutes or until done.  Makes about 36 cookies. 

* I use shaped cutters for what ever holiday or special occasion the cookies are for.  I have quite a collection of those too such as a birthday cake, Christmas ones, fall ones, Easter, flowers, Halloween, big ones and little one, the alphabet letters and just fun shapes.  

Chocolate Drop Cookies

½ cup soft shortening (part butter) - I use butter.  
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 sq. unsweetened chocolate (2 oz.) melted and cooled
¾ cup buttermilk or soured milk  (See my blog on substitutes)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
½ tsp soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts if desired

Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and melted chocolate thoroughly.  Stir in butter milk and vanilla.  Measure flour by drip-level-pour method.  Stir dry ingredients together and blend  into chocolate mixture.  Mix in nuts and chill dough at least 1 hour.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.   Drop rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet (again I use a Silpat).  Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or just until no imprint remains when lightly touched.  If desired, frost with Chocolate Butter Icing. 

Cocoa Drop Cookies:  Make Chocolate Drop Cookies (above) – except omit chocolate and add ½ cup of cocoa to dry ingredients.  I often do this when I don’t have the unsweetened chocolate squares.

I double the recipe because it did not make the 3 ½ doz. cookies.  I also note to frost the cookies with a chocolate frosting. 

The books frosting recipe is:

1 pkg. (6 oz.) semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. milk
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Combine chocolate, butter and milk in a saucepan.  Stir over low heat until chocolate is just melted.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sugar.  Beat until smooth, glossy and easy to spread.  If not glossy, stir in a few drops of hot water.  (I add a tsp. of vanilla for extra flavor)

Chocolate Crinkles

I already shared the Chocolate Crinkles in my gluten free blog but I will copy it again for you.  It came from this book.

1 cup soy or rice flour (this made it gluten free, but your can use white wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oil
4 Tbs. of cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix chocolate,  sugar, oil, eggs  and vanilla.  Add the dried
ingredients.   Set the confectioners' sugar to the side for later.  Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or over night. Roll into balls and then roll in powdered sugar.  Bake for 9 to 12 minutes.  After they cool, store in a large baggie to keep moist.

Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup soft shortening (half butter)
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. soda
¼ tsp. salt

Mix shortening, peanut butter, sugars, and egg thoroughly.  Measure flour by dip-level-pour method.  Mix rest of ingredients and stir in.  Chill dough.  Heat oven to 375 degrees. 
Roll dough into balls in size of large walnuts.  Place 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Flatten, crisscross fashion, with a fork dipped in flour.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until set but not hard.  Makes 3 doz.  2 ½ cookies.

Chocolate Oatmeal Bonbons

½ cup soft shortening (half butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 sq. unsweetened chocolate (2 oz.), melted
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups rolled oats

Mix shortening, sugar, and egg thoroughly.  Stir in chocolate and vanilla.  Measure flour by dip-level-pour method.  Mix dry ingredients and stir in.  Add oats.  Chill dough.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll dough into walnut sized balls.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.  Makes 10 to 12 minutes.  Makes 4 ½ doz. bonbons.

Again, I could share all of the cookies in the books, but I’m stopping at just my favorites.  I did post a Rosemary cookie on my blog when I blogged about herbs, if you wish to refer back to it. 

Make you family some cookies.   Let them walk into a house that smells of warm cookies.  Better yet, let them help you make them.  They say if you are trying to sell your home, you should make cookies before a potential buyer comes.  It will make the house more appealing.  Smells from the kitchen, make it a home. 

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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