Cookie Diet and Exercise Program Friday, Dec 18 2015 

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I’ve been on a cookie diet. Since the middle of November, I’ve baked and eaten cookies day and night. I use only the finest ingredients—hormone-free butter, unbleached flour, organic eggs, fresh nuts, and—lots of chocolate.

Everyone has their favorites. I try to make them all and test frequently to ensure top-quality. The cookie sheets haven’t been put away in weeks. Double-dipped, shortbread, spritz with white chocolate, chocolate covered chocolate, sesame seed, candy cane, almond, pizzelles, and white and semi-sweet chocolate chip. There are many more I have yet to make.

There’s a considerable amount time and fine ingredients in these cookies. And all that mixing and lifting of heavy cookie trays takes a lot of energy, so I know I’m burning more calories than taking in. Right? I ask you, can this program be wrong?

So many cookies. So little time.

***

Here’s Grandma Roses “S” Cookie recipe, a family favorite. It’s a fragile cookie, and a little tricky to make, but melts in your mouth.

Grandma Rose’s “S” Cookies
2 Sticks Sweet Cream Unsalted Butter (I use 1 1/2 sticks butter and 1/2 stick margarine for a little firmer cookie.)
¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Egg Yolk

Mix ingredients. Mold into “S” shapes. Bake at 325 until set(not brown). Remove from oven. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar until fully coated.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Edible Paper Cookie Decorations Tuesday, Dec 17 2013 

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I love a good cookie and enjoy baking but I am not very patient when it comes to decorating. My solution this holiday season was to decorate with edible wafer paper made from potato starch, vegetable oil, and USDA approved food colorings. I wanted to see how easy applying the paper would be to dress up an otherwise plain cookie.

I purchased the papers from Fancy Flours, Inc (www.fancyflours.com, 406-587-0118). Their site offers a number of products for baking and decorating as well as excellent recipes for gingerbread and sugar cookies. I chose three of their many different designs. The square and rectangular shaped ones are the easiest to cut out and also the easiest to cut cookie dough to size.

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Use of the wafer paper requires several steps. The directions are as follows: Make the cookie dough ahead and allow it to stiffen in the refrigerator. Roll out the dough and cut to accommodate the shapes of the paper.

When completely cool, frost the cookies with buttercream, royal icing, or fondant. I used fondant on a few of the gingerbread cookies, but I’m not a fan of it. Although it is very smooth, I think it is too thick, too sweet, and not very tasty. The remainder of the cookies I frosted with a mix of confectioners’ sugar and whipping cream. The simple recipe allowed the frosting to remain white and covered the cookies without too much thickness. Once frosted, I froze the cookies until the frosting was completely set.

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After carefully cutting the wafer paper designs, the directions said to brush a light coat of corn syrup on the back of the papers. I found it easier to dab the corn syrup on the cookie, slide the paper over it, brush the edges, and press down gently.

Turn the cookies face down on parchment paper for about 30 minutes to set.

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Turn them over and allow to  completely dry.

Embellish the cookies with piping and sprinkles as desired. The paper is somewhat fragile and requires careful handling but easy enough that I will try them again. My cookies look a bit sloppy, but with a little more patience, next time they could be quite beautiful.

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©2013, Mary K. Doyle

It’s Cookie Time Tuesday, Dec 10 2013 

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Cookies are one of my go-to treats, and I love homemade ones best of all. Each year I try one or two new recipes, but there are a few I’ve baked for decades. Pecanettes and Chocolate and Oat Bars are two of my tried-and-true old-time favorites.

Pecanettes are my compromise to pecan pie. I love pecan pie – my family not so much. If I bake a pie, I end up eating the whole thing myself. These little cookies have a pecan pie taste, and a little of the texture. For some reason, even people who don’t like the pie do enjoy these cookies. (The last batch I made was a bit salty. I used sea salt which may be why, but you may want to cut back on the salt.)

The Chocolate and Oat Bars are so healthy you can eat them for breakfast. At least that’s my story. The recipe calls for oatmeal, nuts, and (condensed) milk, so how can that be bad for you? And then you add the chocolate, which we know is a “happy” ingredient. MMMMM, good.

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Pecanettes

Pastry:
½ cup butter
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup sifted flour

Filling:
1 egg well-beaten
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ – 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and cheese with mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour and beat until blended. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mixture in each of 2, 24 miniature cupcake pans. Press around.

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Mix filling and spoon into each shell.

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Bake 350 for 18-20 minutes.

 * * * * *

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Chocolate and Oat Bars

1 cup unsifted flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Milk
1 cup chopped nuts
6 oz. of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 (325 for glass dish). In a bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter. Mix well. Reserve ½ cup.

Press remaining oat mixture in the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.

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Pour Eagle Brand Milk evenly over crust. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Top with remaining oat mixture; press down. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

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Store covered at room temperature.

©Mary K. Doyle

Pat Doyle’s Pizzelles Thursday, Dec 13 2012 

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My mother was an excellent cook and baker. Many of her dishes were Italian. Mom was German and Irish but made them for our father, who was half Italian. We especially loved her pizzelles.

For those who do not know, pizzelles are a thin waffle-like Italian cookie. Traditionally, they are made with anise. Today you can find them in a number of flavors including vanilla, almond, chocolate, and orange. Mom made hers with vanilla and it is what my family continues to prefer.

I make the pizzelles for special events using my mother’s old pizzelle maker (which looks like a waffle iron) and her recipe. There probably are better makers on the market today but Mom’s works and I use it in her honor. This is one more way she remains in the middle of our celebrations.

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Following is my mother’s recipe. I use half butter and half margarine for the shortening and soften rather than melt it. This makes the batter a bit thicker. For a thinner pizzelle, it is best to melt the shortening. I also add a touch of almond extract.

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Pat Doyle’s Pizzelles

½ cup shortening, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar

Preheat the pizzelle maker. Blend ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls in the center of each side of the pizzelle maker. Cover. Cook 30-60 seconds.

Remove pizzelles with a fork. Cool on wire rack or tray covered in paper towels. Sprinkle powdered sugar over both sides of the pizzelles.

©Mary K. Doyle

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