Baking, Esq.

23rd December 2013

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Merry Christmas

Eeeeeek!  It’s Monday!  Ack!  Its the day before Christmas Eve and yes… I was in a mall today.  Somethings just happen, it seems.  

Yesterday was our big family Christmas party. 

There was turkey.  There was stuffing and ham and mac and cheeseHomemade bread, sweet potatoes and so so so many cookies.

We all ate like kings.

But, because this food blog is getting old… I have given you all the recipes linked above before.  That is the problem with traditions, it seems.

Instead here are pictures of us getting up super-early to cook.

And cook…

And bake…

And cook….

And of course cookie icing

Until finally… we eat.

Merry Christmas

 

Tagged: ChristmascookiesholidaysbakingfamilyI'm still fullnever eatting again

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3rd November 2013

Post with 5 notes

Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Andrew says that pumpkin flavored things are for Halloween.  I think he is wrong. (Hmm… pumpkin pie anyone?  As Thanksgiving as you can get!) 

If you think, like my husband, that pumpkin flavor is just for Halloween, then please promise me you will save this recipe for next October.  If you think it’s ok to make a new pumpkin flavored addition to your November line-up, this are amazingly good!  

Amazingly!

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And they have white chocolate chips, which I don’t like, but they so work here.

I made a batch and took half to work while Andrew took the other half… and they went so fast! (Hi new people from Andrew’s work!  I hope you like the blog/recipe!!!)  People at my  job were fighting over who ate more than their share!  So so good.

Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies

From Chew Out Loud 

For the cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup salted butter (softened)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup white chocolate chips (more if you like - ‘cause really, what are you gonna do with an almost-used bag of white chocolate chips? They aren’t even chocolate.)

For the icing (the sugar and milk are approximate - you need enough to make it the right drizzle-able consistency)

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp milk

1 tbsp melted butter (usually I don’t worry about it one way or the other, but this needs to be salted butter)

1 tsp vanilla 

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Grease some baking sheets (or line with parchment paper or a silicone mat if you are all fancy like that.  Me, I got my Pam.)

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. 

Add in your egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, and beat it really well. 

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Now you can combine your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, whisk them really well and then add them to the wet ones.  I don’t do that.  I don’t like having multiple bowls to clean afterwards.  I am a very lazy person when it comes to having to wash extra dishes.  It is probably a moral failing.

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I just added all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, salt) to the wet and mix until you don’t see any more white streaks of flour.  

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Pour in the white chocolate chips and stir until evenly incorporated.

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Form rounded tablespoons and drop onto cookie sheet, flatten them slightly with the back of the spoon if you want a more even look.  I liked the wild unflattened rorschach test cookies.  (What do you see in your cookie?  Hmmmm?)

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Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until a nice goldenly orange-brown color. These cookies are soft so you really do need to let them cool on the baking sheet another 2-3 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.

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Let them cool.  You can eat one while warm and unglazed if you like.  It will still be very delicious… not that I would know.  But I’m just saying I would never judge you for eating one early and warm with gooey white chocolate pockets and mmmmmm….. it was soo good.  Or… hmmm… I would imagine.

Combine the melted butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Whisk until smooth.  Add in enough powdered sugar (I started with a cup and then added 1/4 a cup at a time) and milk (I went a tbsp at a time) until the glaze forms a nice, just slightly runny enough to pour, consistency.

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Drizzle the icing over the cookies and leave them to let the icing set up.  

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Then watch them disappear and grown-ups lick their fingers of the last icing residue.

Tagged: Pumpkinpumpkin spice cookiescookiesdessertsthanksgivingeven with the white chocolate chipsmmmm cookies!

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27th July 2013

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Gevulde Speculaas

So it has happened.  I joined the Daring Bakers! You may remember I joined in celebration of Creamed Butter’s second birthday(which is still crazy: two years!).  And here is it, the first month participation and the big reveal! Daring Bakers will tell members the month’s challenge on the first of each month, but we are not allowed to reveal it until after the 27th.  

This month was a little different.  Due to illness, there was no set challenge for the month of July, so instead we were allowed to pick anything from the past challenges. That was a real challenge in and of itself. I didn’t want to take the easy way out and make challah again.  I though about making bagels, but my husband gets New York City bagels and I didn’t think I could compete.  

But I wanted to make something my husband would like and so I settled on Francijn from Koken in de Brouwerij’s Gevulde Speculass from last January. 

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It is a delicious spice cookie stuffed with almond paste which just cries out to be served with a hot cup of tea.  And as you know I am all about my tea.

For the Almond Paste

3/4 cup raw almonds without skins (or you can use ground)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp lemon zest

Using a food processor, ground the almonds finer than fine. Seriously, when you think you have them done, grind a little more. (You can skip this if you use pre-ground almonds.) 

 

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Add the sugar and egg and give the whole mess a few more whirls with the food processor. 

 

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Store the paste for a day or two in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  It gives it a better flavor, but you don’t want it to sit too long because of the raw egg.  

 

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For the cookie

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp mace

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground pepper

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter 

For the wash

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp of cold water

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices in a bowl.

 

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Cut the butter into squares and add to flour mixture.

Knead in the butter until smooth (Feel free to add some milk here if you need.  I needed.)

 

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Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

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Grease a shallow 8X10 baking pan, or really whatever size or shape you want; there is a lot of flexibility here to be creative.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Divide your dough into two portions and roll both out. 

Cut them to the exact shape of your pan.  Put one of the layers in the pan and press it lightly to fill the bottom.

Brush with 1/3 of the egg wash mixture.

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Smear the almond paste over the dough, getting all the way to the edges.  Brush on another 1/3 of the egg mixture.

Press the top dough lid over the almond paste and press down lightly.  Make it as smooth as possible.  

Brush with the last 1/3 of the egg wash.

Decorate the top of the pastry with extra almonds.

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Bake for 40 minutes.  Enjoy the amazing way your house will smell. 

 

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Let cool completely in the pan before cutting.  

 

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Tagged: Dairing BakersDaring KitchenGevulde SpeculaasCookiesalmondadeliciousdesserta little tediousbut I like tedious

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14th April 2013

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Lemon Cardamom Cookies

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Well, after last week’s post, you  all knew it was only a matter of time.  And I did it.  I found a bunch of Hairy Biker’s recipes on the BBC-Food website.  

It is a slight problem.  I love this show!  

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I chose the Cardamom and Lemon Stamped Cookies to make from the Bakeation series trip to Norway.  Plus they are delicious, flavorful, and dead easy. While I don’t get to make them at a UNESCO World Heritage site like on the show, they did come out really delicious.  Would have been better with a waterfall, though. 

 

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Lemon Cardamon Cookies

From The Hairy Biker’s Bakeation (Episode 1 Norway) 

1 stick butter

a scant one cup of sugar

1 lemon zest

2 cups flour

1 heaping cup ground almonds

3 tsp ground cardamon

5-8 tbsp of milk to bring the dough together 

I have converted the measurements into US measurements as best I could.  If you would prefer the British measurements, please feel free to click on the link above.

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

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Add in the flour, almonds, and cardamom.  (I could not find ground almonds in the store, so we used a food processor and pulverized those suckers)

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Mix well.  

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Slowly add one tablespoon of milk at a time, just until you can form a stiff dough.  

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Roll the dough into roughly 24 balls (I got 30 out of mine but a few could have been made bigger) and place on either a parchment-lined cookie tray or a lightly greased cookie tray.  

 

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Press a cookie stamp into the dough. If you have one.  I went to both Target and Bed Bath and Beyond and could not find one today and so, because of my lack of forethought, used a cup to just make them flat.  It worked fine, though I also found some cookie stamps pretty cheap on Amazon, so I might pick one up the next time I have an order.  

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Bake at 375 degrees for 12 - 14 minutes (mine took all 14 minutes) until cookies are a nice light golden brown.

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Put them on a cooling rack to crisp up. 

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Make a pot of tea, enjoy the cookies.  (Wish you were in Norway looking at magnificent waterfalls.) 

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Tagged: LemonCardamomCookiesHairy BikersEasyDessertGood with teaCrunchy and chewy and sweet and spicyI like waterfallsHi mom

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23rd February 2013

Post with 7 notes

Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies

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Every year for the Academy Awards my brother and sister have a knock down, drag out, no holds barred contest for who can guess the most winners.  The prize for this yearly battle?  The winner gives the loser a smug look.

Even if they are miles and miles away - it can be sent over e-mail.

 

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Over the years this contest has led to quite the epic Oscar party.  Shrimp and buffalo wings and pizza and chips and cookies and cup cakes. It has become quite the party.

 

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This year, I decided to make chocolate chip shortbread cookies for the event.  I am a long time tea addict and as such am always looking for cookies to have with my tea.  Let the others eat buffalo wings, I will be sipping my tea and eating one of these buttery and oh-so-chocolatey cookies.

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Chocolate Chip Shortbread

From Purplefoodie.com who in turn adapted it from Dorie Greenspan

2 sticks (1 cup) of butter (softened)

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (but you know that I just poured the whole bag in there)

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Beat the butter and sugars together until very smooth and creamy.  

Add in the vanilla and beat well.  

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Slowly add in the flour, being careful not to over-mix.  Once you don’t see any flour - stop. 

 

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Fold in the chocolate chips.

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Now this is the fun part: transfer the very soft dough to a gallon bag.  Leaving the bag top open, lay that thing out and go at it with a rolling pin. 

 

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This will make your cookies nice and square and evenly thick. Seal the bag and pop it into the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

 

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Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and cut away the bag.  

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Using a knife, cut the now solid dough into squares and bake for 15 - 17 minutes ( I was firmly at the 17-minute mark).  

Allow the cookies to cool for a good 20 minutes. 

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Then pop them back into the oven for an additional 4 minutes.  This gives them a good crunch, and takes the buttery crisp to a great extreme.  It also gives them a nice golden bottom.

 

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Pour your tea and enjoy.

 

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Tagged: Cookieschocolate chipacademy awardsshortbreadRecipiebuttery goodness

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13th January 2013

Post with 3 notes

Moving Here Cookies (Dutch Cocoa Cookies)

I grew up a United Methodist preacher’s kid.  And that means we moved around more than average.  My mother also was a preacher’s kid and this recipe comes originally from her stories.  When they would move, they would get a package of Dutch Cocoa Cookies.  And really: only when they moved.  Thus the cookies became Moving Here Cookies. 

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…though we don’t really keep to the “only having them when you move to a new place” rule.  My grandmother (whose recipe this is) makes them every year for Thanksgiving.  And these are my brother’s favorite cookies.  He eats them no matter what: stale, old, burned, or perfect fresh from the oven. 

Moving Here Cookies

This is actually one of only two recipes I have written out from my grandmother.

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2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup butter

2 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

6 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used 18 tbsp unsweetened cocoa and 6 tbsp vegetable oil)

4 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Sugar to roll cookie balls in

Cream the sugars and butter together.

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Add the vanilla,

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eggs,

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and either melted chocolate or cocoa powder/oil.  Mix well.

Stir in the baking soda, flour and salt.

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Here the dough can be refrigerated for 1 - 2 hours, and it does help it come together, but I am an impatient soul and sometimes skip this step.  Sorry, Grandma!

Roll dough into roughly 1 1/2 inch balls.  Roll the balls into sugar and place about 3 inches apart on a greased cookies sheet. These will grow on you.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 12 minutes.  I usually find about 9 - 10 minutes is good in my oven, but check them on yours.  These cookies, I have found, are a little easy to burn because of the dark color, but if you keep an eye on them and… hmm… well, don’t start reading your novel and forget to check until the timer has been going off for about 30 seconds because, well, you know, they could burn. 

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Cool the cookies, get a glass of milk, invite my brother over, and enjoy!

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Tagged: Cookieschocolatebecause all your christmas cookies are goneadmit itrecipemmmmm

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21st December 2012

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Star Cookies

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This is, in my head, THE Christmas cookie.  Once we have the star cookies it means people are home from school, presents are bought, and the Christmas baking is in full swing.  It’s really is Christmas time.

I am not really sure why they are called star cookies. My Grandmother makes these cookies every year for Thanksgiving.  Hers are always Christmas-tree shaped, perfect, and beautiful.  

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We have an assortment of cookie cutters that we use.  But star cookies they are, and star cookies they will remain.  

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I have a lot of memories of painting these cookies as a kid every year.  Yeah some years the baby’s cookies (be it my bother’s or sister’s) were bad, but they were also great fun, and each cookie always reflected the personality of the creator.  You can try and guess which ones in the pictures I did.  


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Star Cookies

From my Grandmother

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter/margarine

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cream shortening and butter.  Add in the sugar.  Mix in vanilla, egg and milk.  Beat thoroughly.


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Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

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Chill the dough (but my mom always skips this step and just muscles through it; sometimes she adds a few drops of cold water to hold it together.)

In roughly fourths, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick circles.


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Press in as many cookie cutters as you can.  It’s really like Tetris.


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Move the cookies carefully onto a greased cookie sheet. 


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Bake at 375 for 8 - 10 minutes (this year it took us about 9).

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Set the cookies out to cool.

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Once cool, get out about five bowls (or how many colors of food coloring you have, plus one for white) and make a quick icing out of milk and powdered sugar.  This can be quite tricky as you need to get a good consistency without ending up with gallons of icing.  Just keep adding small amounts of milk or powdered sugar until it is about the consistency of thick honey.


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Put about 4-6 drops of food coloring in each bowl to get a variety of colors. 


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We have red, blue, green, yellow, and white.


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Now go to town—ice the cookies however you like. 

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Let the icing set a few hours or overnight and your beautiful cookies are ready for the holiday season. 


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Tagged: ChristmasCookiesrecipeSugar cookiesButter cookiesIcing is the best partbaking

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8th December 2012

Post with 5 notes

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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It is December.  Very December.  And for me that means cookies.  Ever since I was an early teenager and my father realized I could make cookies and thus he could give the job to me, I have made cookies all through December.

Hundreds of cookies, thousands of cookies. Cookies of all shapes and sizes.  

Today I made my first batch of December cookies for my mother’s church’s live nativity performance.  Oatmeal raisin.


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Happy December.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From: Southern Living 

1 cup butter (softened - but more on that later)

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

3 cup old fashioned rolled oats - uncooked

1 cup raisins (but really who is counting??)

First boil some water.  Set the raisins and a little sprinkle of sugar in a bowl and cover with the boiling water.  This sweetens and plumps them.  Mmmmm.  Set this aside to sweeten and plump.


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Cream the butter and sugar together.  But, I hear you asking, my life is busy and hectic (it is December after all) and I forgot to get the butter out of the fridge to thaw this morning.  Well… so did I this time. So what I did was cut the butter into as small pieces as I could (and then my water boiled and I forgot that it was cold so I dumped the sugar on as well - really not my best).


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Take the whole bowl and just nuke it for ten seconds.  Give it a stir and keep going in ten second intervals until it is a workable consistency.  But do be very careful not to melt it. Two or three zaps should do it.

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After you have creamed the butter and sugar, add in the egg and mix well.


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Then add in the vanilla and water. This will not want to come together.  It will fight you.  You will think you have messed it up.  But it will be ok.  Just keep stirring.


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Add in the flour, salt, and spices, sprinkling evenly over the butter mixture.  


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Mix well.

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Dump in your oats and again… mix well.


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Finally, drain the raisins. Try to get these drained really well because you don’t want any extra water in your dough.  Add in the raisins and throughly combine.  (Bet you thought I was gonna say mix well again, didn’t ya?)


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Drop the dough in about 2 teaspoon-ish balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Mine were good right at 10.

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They should be lightly brown and delicious-looking.


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Tagged: CookiesrecipeChristmas cookiesHoliday bakingreally only the first of thousandsGetting a sugar rush just thinking about itOatmealRaisins

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12th February 2012

Post with 1 note

Jam cookies (Slavic Cookies)

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A friend requested a recipe like this ages ago (actually the request was more a suggestion for a Christmas cookie).  It is a little late but I do take requests and I thought with the red of the raspberry and a handy-dandy heart-shaped cookie cutter these would make a great Valentines Day entry (and something different from all the chocolate).

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Happy Valentines Day everyone!  

 

The recipe comes from my father.  I have it handwritten on a piece of notebook paper. It is not my father’s handwriting but he liked these cookies and I often made them for him so, even though I know they come form someone else (there is no name on the paper),  I attribute them to my father.  

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I also don’t know why they are called Slavic Cookies.

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Slavic Cookies

 

1 cup butter (and it really must be real butter here)

2 cups flour

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

a few splashes of milk to make the dough come together

small jar of preserves (I am using raspberry but apricot, strawberry, peach use what you like) 

nuts (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

 

Cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg yolks. 

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Add the flour and splash of milk to form a soft dough.  Really you are making a shortbread cookie here.  Divide the dough in half.

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Grease an 8x10 pan and pat half the dough mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Cover that with the jam and (if you like) chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, whatever you prefer or, as I am doing, none at all).

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Then take a deep breath because the next step is a little tricky, especially if you have added the nuts.  You need carefully to spread/pat/lay the top half of dough over the jam without smearing  or mixing the two together.  Go slowly, you can do it!

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Bake for 1 hour until bubbling and golden brown and delicious.  


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You can either cut then into squares or use a cookie cutter and go to town.  Plus this way I get to eat the scraps after I make my little hearts!  Score!


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Tagged: cookiesjameasydessertraspberryValentines Day

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14th January 2012

Post with 42 notes

Oatmeal Scotties

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I love oatmeal raisin cookies.  We were out of raisins.  So I made these instead.  I first ran across oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips when I was living in Hollywood and near an Nestle Toll House cookie store.  I don’t even like butterscotch but this combination is divine!

My friend Alex came over to help me bake these babies before we went to go see Beauty and the Beast.  Which brings me to a side tangent, scroll down for recipe if you like.  The Beast was 11 when he refused the old woman and she put the curse on him!  11!  Name me an 11 year old boy who is not a brat?  And anyway who tells an 11 year old boy he must find true love?  He hasn’t even hit puberty yet.  Speaking of puberty I wonder how that went for him in beast form?

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Don’t believe me?  The rose dies and the curse is permanent on his 21st birthday as described in the intro.  And then in “Be Our Guest” Lumiere sings “Ten years we’ve been rusting”.  Thus… he was 11!  Sigh, my childhood is ruined!  Haha

Anyway… Cookies!!!    

The base for this recipe is taken from the Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook (which has been around forever so how new is it really?).  Feel free to add chocolate chips, raisins, M&Ms, dried cranberries, really whatever you like in your oatmeal cookies in stead of butterscotch.  Feel free to mix and match, I am thinking dried cranberries and white chocolate chips would be very elegant and peanut butter chips and M&M’s just fun. The base though is by far my favorite oatmeal cookie.  

3/4 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice (original recipe calls for cloves instead)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 bag butterscotch chips (or chocolate chips, or peanut butter, or… etc.) or 1 1/2 cups raisins 

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Beat butter till creamy and then beat in the sugars.  Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.  These cookies are different from the average because of the early addition of the baking powder and spices.  Beat all of this together and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  

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Add in the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well then add in the flour.  Finally, stirring by hand, add in the rolled oats and any other mix-ins you desire.

I chill my dough for a few hours but you can feel free to go straight to the baking part if you like. 

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Preheat over to 375.  Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a greased (yes the recipe says ungreased - mine always stick, I love my Pam) cookie sheet not too close together - they will spread - and bake 8 - 10 minutes until edges are light brown. 

Allow to cool and enjoy.  Weirdly I find I much prefer these cookies cooled to warm from the oven.  I think it is something to do with the fact that I just don’t really like the heavy butterscotch taste.

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Tagged: cookiesoatmealbutterscotchdesserteasy

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