Cookies!

Bakin' With Betty


As we all know, "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts." And while I will be discussing the latter today, some of my readers may become the former. I know this in advance. However, there are times in life when a woman has got to take a stand (mixer), lash herself to the blade and ride out the quick trip from the Stir/Mix/Whip of emotions that the subject is sure to bring out in her readers. After years of careful thought and deliberation, I am now ready to take my bold stand: I am Pro-Cookie.

Oh, please, take your hands off your ears while I explain why I have taken this dramatic stance.

Yes, brownies are good. They, like the cookie, are comfortable, fun treats--at first. However, the placid surface soon cracks and when they are cut into squares they begin to get testy, argumentative, a bit overbearing. They are like the couple who agrees the divorce will be civil, but when the final separation occurs, there are crumbs to be claimed, crumbs no one wants. The division is never completely square. Some assets are bigger than others. There are rough edges that may never be smoothed out. They fall apart. They've changed; what was once sweet and unified is now more than a little bitter and overly-complicated.

Out of a sense of duty, we must tolerate the occasional doughnut as it sits, the aging plus-sized model, lined up in the box beside the other gussied up corpulent doughy has-beens, each absolutely convinced she is the star of the fashion show as they all proudly wear their coats of white icing, coconut, chocolate and the perennially garish multi-colored sprinkles. They sit, swelled up and florid. Little do they know, no matter the designer, no matter whether the stage is white or pink, we have seen this show over and over again. They are out of style, some puffed up with their own air of over-confidence, their glazed expressions hiding their lack of inner substance. Some are just plain old-fashioned.

To the inexperienced, the round pie seems to be the ideal dessert. Yes, the spherical shape connotes a sense of global awareness. The crust suggests a playfulness and sense of mischievousness, but the drama unfolds when the pie is cut and placed on individual dessert plates. Then the seemingly peaceful facade of the pie disappears. The piece sits before you. Turn it so the crust is nearest to you , and the tip points accusingly at other guests, or draws all eyes towards the dirty kitchen. Turn the plate, and the pie, without the slightest bit of hesitation or pause, points directly at you. Suddenly the table is silent as everyone looks at you and considers his or her long-held, but repressed opinions about your self-absorbed, self-important nature. You eat the tip quickly, hoping to stifle the looks, only to glance up and realize you have just reinforced those unspoken accusations. "Did you SEE how she gobbled the pie up, like someone besides Her Majesty herself was going to get at it?"

All of these examples lead me to my bold stand stance: I am Pro-Cookie. Cookies are the quiet and self-contained work horse of the dessert world. I am particularly fond of the oatmeal cookie which presents itself with an admirable sense of dignity. They are the sturdy wheels upon the wagon train of the everyday meal. They do not crumble easily, but maintain a quiet strength while knowing all along that, despite a modest exterior there is within a soft goodness and a sweet combination of lovable ingredients. My friends, is this not exactly what we, as people, should strive for as well?

Therefore, I now publish for the first time:

Bossy Betty's
Fancy-but-not-Ostentatious
Helpful-but-not-Officious,
Delectable-but-not-Dramatically-Decadent
Oatmeal Cookie Recipe.

1/2 of a tub of Earth Balance spread. (You can use two sticks of butter instead.)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (You can use egg replacer too)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Tiny bit of almond extract (two or three drops)
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
handfuls of chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, Crasins, cut up pieces of dried apricots.

1. Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat butters and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add oats and other ingredients.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons on to ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.

Now I hear some of you out there saying, "That seems like a lot of work, Betty. Can't I just go to the store and buy some cookies?" And Betty says, "Oh, you must be so busy and tired from your long day of sitting in your cushy office chair and this IS a big job so of course you can go to the store and buy yourself some cookies!You can also quit your job, hitchhike to Las Vegas, get drunk as a skunk, get a tattoo, stumble down the aisle of a tacky wedding chapel/bar/cigarette store to marry the first pathetic person who shows you the slightest bit affection and live in a hellhole all your life too, but is that what you really want?

Straighten up, put on that apron and get to work! This is America! Do you think our pioneer ancestors, bent-over, hungry and tired from their work busting the hardened harney silt loam with a horse-drawn plow dropped into a 7-11 for some pre-packaged Nutter-Butters or Chips Ahoy and a Big Gulp? No! Now let's hear some bowl-rattling in that kitchen!

Happy Baking to All!
With Love,
Betty

!ALERT!

I need to you to stop whatever you are doing and make these cookies.  

Seriously.  

They.  Are.  Good.

Yowza!




Potato Chip Cookies

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. crushed potato chips



Mix all ingredients. Roll into small balls; flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Dip these suckers in chocolate or just smear some across the top.





I took these to work this week and I do believe my co-workers are now constructing a statue of me in the office wing.  

You need to make these cookies.  

Why?

Butter (Dairy)

Potato Chips (Vegetables)

Pecans (Protein)

Flour (Grains)

Sugar (for Energy)

Vanilla (better you get it here rather than chewing on a scented candle)

Really, it's a health issue if you think about it.

Enjoy!


We Interrupt This Week For Cookies



Sometimes a girl just has to have a cookie.

I think everybody understands this.

The other day I got the idea to make oatmeal cookies with coconut, pecans, and mini-peanut butter cups.

Whooooooo! They came out great!




Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup (or more chopped pecans)
3/4 cup mini peanut butter cups

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats, coconut, pecans, and peanut butter. Mix well.

Note! You can add a little bit of almond extract to the mixture. Don't go overboard. Don't go crazy. You know how you can get.



Hope you enjoy!

Saturday is Cookie Day


Hi All!

Sonny Boy and his girlfriend are holding a garage sale today to raise money to help with their move from California to Virginia where Sonny Boy will attend graduate school.

I'll be helping them out, parading around in my tube top and ultra-low shorts, to attract buyers to the merchandise in the driveway.

You, however, can be in the relative safety and sanity of your very own kitchen making some of these orange slice cookies.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped orange slices candy


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.

Finally, stir in the oats, coconut and candy orange slices. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


Betty's Notes: I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. These cookies (like me) are very sweet, so you can cut back on the sugars a little. Also, spraying your scissors with PAM will help with the cutting of the orange slices.

Personally, I think a little cinnamon would be great in here and the next time I make them I am going to add walnuts. That's right. Chopped walnuts. Just try and stop me.....

Happy Saturday!


L



This recipe comes from Kathryn White from the Beechmont Inn Bed and Breakfast.

I gotta tell you, these suckers are YUMMY!

I went a little crazy and made them oblong instead of round, added some dried apricots to the dough, and added some frosting too. Whew! Talk about livin' on the edge!


Almond Spice Cookies

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cloves, and nutmeg
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil (canola or your favorite vegetable oil)
1 egg
4 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use Silpat or parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together sugar, oil egg and molasses. Add flour and spice mixture and blend. Stir in almonds.

Drop by tablespoons on prepared cookie sheet. Bake approximately 10 minutes, remove from sheet and cool on rack. Store in an air-tight container with a slice of plain bread to preserve their chewy texture. Makes about 2 dozen cookies (they are about 3 - 4 inches in diameter).


Hope you enjoy this recipe!!!

Make many cookies.

Eat many cookies.







Chocolate Mint Cookies
from The Joy of Vegan Baking

1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer*
2 Tbsp. warm water (non-vegans can use an egg instead of the replacer and water)
3/4 cup non-dairy butter (non-vegans can use butter butter)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter & sugars together by hand or with an electric hand mixer at high speed.

Beat in the egg replacer mixture & the vanilla & peppermint extracts.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, & salt. Add this to the butter mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir until combined, but do not over-stir.

Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 10 -12 mins., or until the edges begin to harden. Although they might not appear completely done, the cookies will continue to cook after they're removed from the oven.

After removing them from the oven, immediately take the cookies off of the cooking sheet & place them on a wire rack to cool.

Yields: 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Betty's Note:

I add lots of walnuts to this one.

You can leave the mint flavoring out completely if you don't like mint or if it brings back memories of a wedding reception where, out of nervousness, you ate way too many of the little mints on the table and felt physically ill resulting in photos in which you look stricken and queasy which everyone took as your non-verbal comment on the pairing of the couple who were, really, doomed from the start what with his three past failed marriages and her one-time romantic involvement with one of his ex-wives.

Yeah, then you could leave the mint out.

Happy Baking!
                                 Told You!

Did I say this week was going to take a lot of cookies?

Oh, I meant it.

Keep 'em coming until I say it's safe to switch to salad.

That time has not come yet, nor do I see it coming in the next two days.

Focus on the cookie. Focus on the cookie. Focus on the cookie.
Cranberry Happiness!


I found this recipe for cookies using fresh cranberries on the Coconut and Lime Blog. I used regular-sized white chocolate instead of chocolate chips. I went to Williams-Sonoma to get the vanilla paste. As far as I can tell, regular vanilla would work just as well, but the paste is pretty darn fun.

I really liked these cookies. HOB had trouble with the intensity of the cranberries. I don't like that kind of weakness in man, but he has other good qualities, so I am willing to overlook this for the time being.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup semisweet mini chips
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look "set" and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Home, Home on the  Range/Oven


AH, the Sunflower--the state flower of Kansas.  It's a happy, cheery flower and what other state flower has actually nuts growing out of the center.  Huh?  Huh?  



I found this recipe in my collection recently.  I cut it out of the newspaper over twenty years ago, but had never made these cookies until recently.  This is my cousin's recipe.  



Just like good Kansas folk, the personality of these cookies doesn't reach out and grab you with sweet, showy pizazz, but, once you try them, you'll be back for more of their unusual texture and solid goodness.  You'll want to sit down on your front porch and and just chew on these sweet things, letting your mind drift off as you stare at the clouds, thinking about what route you'll take to the lake to see the sunset this evening.



Kansas Sunflower Seed Cookies

                            from Jo Turner

1 cup butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 1/4 brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oats
3/4 cup sunflower seed
1/2 wheat germ

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs and almond extract.  Sift together flour, salt and soda, stir into creamed mixture.  Fold in oats, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.

Place teaspoon of butter 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Hello, Sugar!

Sugar Cookies are like those good friends who show up at your door with flowers and smiles and maybe even a funky lamp they picked up from the Goodwill which they know you will love.

These friends are sweet, but not too sweet.  The best ones balance out their sugar with just enough lemony tartness to keep your attention, but not enough to overwhelm their goodness.

Sugar Cookies know who they are and they don't need a bunch of flashy, attention-grabbing add-ins to call attention to themselves.  They don't come to you to be adored.  They sit at your table, reliable and solid, there to delight, console and nourish you when you need it the most.

This recipe is dedicated to all my Sugar Cookie friends.  

You know who you are, you Sweet Things, you.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

From Martha Stewart's Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t coarse salt
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tb finely grated lemon zest
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 TB fresh lemon juice
sanding sugar for sprinkling.

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

2.  Put sugars and zest into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed 30 seconds.  Add butter, mix until pale and fluffy, about one minute.  Mix in eggs one at a time, and then the lemon juice.  reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.

3.  Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing three inches apart.  Flatten cookies slightly, sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Lightly brush with a wet pastry brush, sprinkle with more sanding sugar.

4.  Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula, let cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to three days.                                                    



                              Chocolate Cookie.

You know a cookie is a good one when people take it with both hands and eat it the way a hamster munches on a big fat nut.  That's just what happened when I took these cookies into the office wing the other day.  My co-workers were very hamster-like as as they enjoyed their delicious chocolate cookies, nibbling on one edge, then thoughtfully turning the cookie, nibbling on another edge, gazing skyward as their little teeth worked over the morsels in their mouths.  It was the quietest the hamster cage had been in a long time.

I found this cookie recipe at the Joy of Cooking Website.  Yow-wow, it's good!  It takes Dutch-processed cocoa which you can find at Williams-Sonoma or other fancy-schmancy stores.  It took me awhile to actually get in there and buy it, having been a Hershey's cocoa powder girl all my life, but then I thought, "What would Fancy do?" and I went right up to that gleaming Williams-Sonoma counter and asked for it.  I did the right thing.  Nobody processes chocolate like the Dutch.*


Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer),  cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 

First sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the the chocolate chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop, or two spoons, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the the cookies are still soft in the center but are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 24 - 3 inch round cookies.

Betty's notes:  

I put in chopped walnuts too!

Vegans--I have not tried this with egg replacer, but I think it would be fine.  You could use dark chocolate chips instead of the white chips.  Oh, you're smart people.  I think you can figure this out.

Here's an additional note from the recipe on the Joy of Cooking web site:

This dough freezes beautifully so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies on demand. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer until the cookies are frozen. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, place the frozen cookie balls in a freezer bag, and return to the freezer. When you want these cookies, simply place the cookie balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, preheat the oven, and then bake as directed.


(* No Dutch were harmed in the making of this cookie.)

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