Friday, 30 November 2012

1996 - We May Be Rushing Things but...

I'll try to keep up as we go this year! 

Tomorrow, we're going to bake two double batches of Nestle's Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. We didn't think we would get to bake this Christmas because Lisa is sooooo pregnant! I hope she has her this week, while I'm on vacation from work. We know it's going to be another girl (which will make four). In the meantime, we've been shopping and planning and wrapping and, now, baking together while we still can. I'm impressed that Lisa can do so much — she's due next Sunday (Dec. 9). But the baby could keep us waiting till Christmas!

We actually went shopping on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), which we never do but she's afraid if she doesn't get it done now, she won't get a chance. We started at Target but the lines snaked all the way to the back of the store! So we headed to KB Toys at Jefferson Mall, where the line only wrapped around the perimeter of the store. We found a few items then stood in the line. By the time we got around to the cash register, we were each pushing a stack of presents as tall as ourselves! The bags were so humungous, I had to drag them to the mall door while Lisa went for the car. 

This will be a late baking start for us  — tomorrow is Dec. 2. Still, we've planned what we're going to make and I'm doing the shopping tonight (fingers crossed I'll get everything we need for a change!). In addition to the Toll House Cookies, we're going to try a new cookie that we saw in all the cookie magazines we've been perusing. It's a One-Bowl Brownie Cookie from Baker's Secret (the chocolate square company).

I also need to buy another cookie sheet — my good one is in storage since I moved home with Mom and Dad, and we need at least three in the rotation. Mom has offered her many cooling racks, which we will gladly use at Lisa's house.

Who knows at this point what else we'll bake? We'll have to see what the baby says!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

1995 - Mom & Dad's Pumpkin Bread

Michelle helps Dad make a giant batch 
of Pumpkin Bread.
We didn't make Pumpkin Bread this year because Dad has been baking mega batches for the last few Christmases. He really enjoys it and he loves giving it away as presents to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors at this time of year (and they love getting it too!).

Even though he technically makes it, he gets lots of help in the kitchen. Of course, various children and grandchildren in the vicinity are called on as assistants to mix and measure. Mom used to combine most of the ingredients for him (probably saved her numerous trips into the kitchen to find ingredients hiding in the fridge and cupboards!). She would measure out all the spices and dry ingredients, so all he had to do was grab a few eggs and a can of pumpkin, and measure out some oil and water. But he would make so many wonderful loaves that she couldn't keep up. So, she wrote the recipe out and taped it to the inside of the spice cabinet for him. 

Whenever I open my own spice cabinet, I think of Mom. Mine is just as full and unorganized as hers always was. When I was a girl at home, I would have to drag a chair over to see and reach inside to find the spice or herb I was after. She had the stalwarts and standbys — cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, thyme and dill. But there were exotic mysteries too — mace, cumin, saffron and turmeric. And what in the world was cream of tartar?  Those unfamiliar titles tended to stay near the back, in smaller jars; while the giant tin of cinnamon was always up front to make cinnamon-sugar for our toast.

We used to use Grandma Baker's recipe but Mom made changes to it over the years and we now call it Mom & Dad's Pumpkin Bread. They've always baked it in coffee cans ever since I can remember (and the lines from the cans — much like the lines on tinned cranberry sauce — serve as a guide for slicing). A loaf pan will do as well but tends to result in hunks without the trusty guidelines but metal coffee cans are a rarity these days.

Lisa, like most people, eats it as is, which is delicious. Mom and Dad almost always put butter on it. I like it that way too but I sometimes have it with a smear of cream cheese. Any way you slice it or top it, it's delicious and, in our family, it's Christmas.

Mom & Dad's Pumpkin Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Me "helping" Dad pour batter into coffee cans.

Whisk together in a large bowl:
3 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 c sugar

Stir in:
2/3 c chopped pecans
2/3 c raisins

Make a well in the center and add:
2/3 c vegetable oil
2/3 c water
4 eggs
15-ounce can of pumpkin

Mix well until all ingredients are combined.

Pour mixture into greased loaf pans (or coffee cans, if you can find them), or muffin tins, filling 2/3 of the way.

Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Yields vary, depending on size of pans.

NOTE: If you want to make Lisa's Un-pumpkin Bread, just leave out the pumpkin! It's still delicious, according to her family.

Pumpkin muffins keep very well in the freezer.
This recipe was shared with the blog hop, Frugal Food Thursdays

Merry Cookies!

Cookies and Christmas are practically synonymous. 

Merry Cookies!

— Sandra Boynton 

1995 - This Is No Old Chestnut

My niece Rachel and I sample a few goodies 
from the cookie tray. The Buckeyes are the 
chocolate delights on the left.

Lisa insisted that we make Buckeyes in a nod to our relatives in Ohio. And since Dad and she hail from the Buckeye State (and he LOVES peanut butter) they were a sure holiday hit. 

There’s no baking involved, so it’s really more a candy than a cookie. You just dip peanut butter balls into melted chocolate and refrain from gobbling them up as you go.

The Buckeye Tree is Ohio’s official state tree, so it’s no surprise that Buckeye Candy has become a tradition in itself. The sweet treat is formed to resemble the tree’s “nut” and is popular for tailgating, holiday parties and other festive occasions. 

I keep the recipe I found on a postcard on one of my many visits “up home,” as Dad says.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

1995 - It's All a Blur

From the date on this photo, we evidently 
finished baking before Dec 13: 
Behold our cookie tray from 1995.
Sigh. We were so busy this year. I tried to get Lisa to make the entries this time but she insisted that I'm the writer. Shows what she knows — I failed to make any entries in our beloved Cookie Journal! In fact, it's Dec. 1, 1996, as I write! I promise not be such a slug this year.

Anyway, I am not known for my year-to-year recall and so will have to rely on my memory-queen sister tomorrow (as we begin this year's 1996 baking) for any momentous details — aside from the naturally outstanding flavor and huge, record-breaking quantities.

Here are some notes I found that I had jotted down on one of Lisa's notepads, beefed up with anything she recalled:

We went back to Nestle's Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies instead of the Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies. Such traditionalists! We screwed up the first batch by accidentally doubling (or, in our case, quadrupling) the flour. Yikes! Yield: 20 dozen + 3 + those we ate. We made two double batches eventually.

As usual, we flubbed up in the inventory department and didn't have enough peanut butter to make Peanut Butter Cookies. We sent Lisa's eldest, Michelle, to Melton's Food Mart for another jar and had to settle for Peter Pan brand. Choosy mothers (and aunts) choose Jif. We also adjust though. We doubled the recipe and wound up with 12 3/4 dozen.

We couldn't find the Whoopie Pie recipe but evidently we did because we both remember indulging. They take a bit of time but they're so worth it. (I don't see them in any of the pictures though.)

The week before Christmas, we had a sisterly sleepover
(complete with matching Christmas gowns!).

1994 - It's a Wrap

In future baking sessions, I need to take my own plastic measuring spoons with me. Lisa has those vile metal ones and I can't take the metal-on-metal scraping noise! Also, take a rubber spatula for scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.

We made our usual two pans each of Grandma Baker's Peanut Butter Fingers on Dec 7. We doused them with 12 ounces of chocolate chips again (double what the recipe calls for). 

We made two double batches of Whoopie Pies, making six dozen (73 cookies). We had to go to the store AGAIN for buttermilk, eggs and waxed paper. We used the oven rack again for cooling the cookies before filling them with fluffy vanilla goodness. Despite our generous hands in frosting the sandwiches, we had an abundance left over. We could have easily tripled the recipe instead of quadrupling it! 

We decorated the Sugar Cookies today with Betty Crocker frosting. For decorations, we used stars, candy-coated chocolate pieces, red sugar, green sugar and multi-colored nonpareils. We need to gather our cutters early next year, for the best choice and variety. And we should use as many colors of frosting as possible — making for a more festive array on the cookie trays. Not that they stick around for very long.

Next year, bake more!

1994 - Bursting With Flavor

Having tasted my friend Carla’s Peanut Butter Bursts at work last year, Lisa and I agreed they deserved a spot in the rotation. We love peanut butter almost as much as we love chocolate! We must get that from Dad because Mom has said, “Does it always have to be chocolate?” No, Mom, it can be peanut butter.

Since we made these and Grandma Baker’s Peanut Butter Fingers (more peanut butter and chocolate!) on Dec. 6, we decided not to make Peanut Butter Cookies this year. We made a pan each, and these newcomers vanished from our Christmas cookie trays as quickly as their veteran counterparts.

Carla's Peanut Butter Bursts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine and beat until creamy:
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Add and beat well:
1 egg

Gradually add and mix well:
2 c self-rising flour

Stir in:
1 10-ounce package peanut butter morsels

Spread in greased baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

1994 - Just the Fax

Here’s the cover page of the fax from 
the Land O’ Lakes Test Kitchen. 
The grease spot came later.

As we promised ourselves last year, we’re determined to use Lisa’s cookie gun this round. But after vainly searching through magazines at her house for the Chocolate Butter Cookies recipe, I decided to just call the Land O’ Lakes Test Kitchen because we knew it was their recipe. 

They very nicely agreed to fax it to my number at the newspaper on Dec. 5 — we had to venture out for more supplies again anyway! We needed (Land O’ Lakes) butter, lemon and powdered sugar for the Lemon Spritz Cookies.

With fax in hand, I mixed up the dough for a double batch and Lisa used her gun to press out 12 dozen Chocolate Butter Cookies. (We preferred not to use the almond extract.) The gun made it easy and it went quite smoothly. Dubbed a “rich, chocolate butter cookie with endless possibilities”, we simply stuck with the basic recipe and used it in the cookie press. The variations look interesting though.

The Lemon Spritz Cookies weren’t very popular for some reason. We used a “Joy” spritz, adding 3 teaspoons of ginger, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. They looked good — Lisa used her gun — but they were dry and not lemon-y enough (probably should’ve scratched the ginger too — that seems like a lot!). We yielded 11 dozen from a double batch.

Spritz Cookies

Sift together:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together:
3/4 c sugar
1 c butter

2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Stir in the flour. Beat well, then chill. Put dough through cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The dough should be pliable, but if it becomes too soft, re-chill it slightly. Bake about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned.

1994 - Brownies Cockaigne

Lisa in her festive finery, 1994.
We started with Pumpkin Cookies today (Dec. 4) and yielded 13 dozen beauties. These soft "cake-ies" definitely need cooling racks, so we improvised with a spare oven rack. We used two cans of Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting to top them once they cooled but we forgot to add nutmeg this year. Lisa suggested we sprinkle it over the tops and they looked pretty. 

Even though we loved Barb's Brownies, we decided to try the Brownies Cockaigne recipe in "Joy of Cooking" this year because we wanted a sturdier product that would hold frosting and pecans. They were fabulous! 

"Cockaigne," explains editor Marion Rombauer Becker in the "Joy" foreword, signified a "mythical land of peace and plenty" in medieval times. So she designated some recipes as favorites with this label (which was also the name of her country home in Anderson Township, near Cincinnati, Ohio). 

Brownies Cockaigne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt in a double boiler (or microwave-safe bowl):
1/2 c butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate

Set aside to cool (otherwise the brownies will be heavy and dry).

Beat until light in color and foamy in texture:
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt

Add gradually and continue beating until well creamed:
2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

With a few swift strokes, combine the cooled chocolate mixture and the eggs and sugar.
Even if you normally use a mixer, do this manually. 

Before the mixture becomes uniformly colored, fold in, again by hand:
1 c sifted all-purpose flour

And before the flour is uniformly colored, stir in gently:
1 c chopped pecan meats

Bake in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan about 25 minutes. 
Cut when cool, as interiors are still moist when fresh from the oven.

One can of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting was plenty to cover a 9-by-13-inch aluminum pan (the disposable kind).

Dec 3, 1994 - Double, Double

The Peanut Butter Cookies go quickly so we made two double batches on Dec. 3, otherwise we'd be back at it within a week. I had to go back to the store for more peanut butter, butter and brown sugar. We rolled the dough-balls in granulated sugar again and they turned out perfect (even though the oven was mysteriously set on 325). They took about 10-12 minutes, but again, we judge by other means than time.

Next we made a second double batch of Sugar Cookies, figuring the same was true — they just disappear! So remember next year: two double batches of Sugar Cookies AND Peanut Butter Cookies. We yielded 12 dozen peanut butter lovelies.

I should have bought more oats while I was at the store! Next year, look at the recipes, decide how many batches we're making and how much of everything we'll need, THEN go shopping. We were short 1/2 cup of oats and I only used 1 1/2 cups of pecans (in a double batch) of Choc-Oat-Chip CookiesAs a result, they were sticking to the trays, so we added 1/2 cup more flour. We made 11 dozen by heaping teaspoonful.

By 11 p.m., we had cranked out 34 dozen delights. We ran short on baking sheets and tins for packing and traveling. I forgot to bring my recipe box (I was too busy obsessing over finding this cookie journal!). We could use extra baking sheets in the rotation — we had to cool their aluminum fires on the porch again (and it's not really that cold outside, considering it's Christmastime). And wire cooling racks would be nice.

1994 - And We're Off!

Shopping assistants, Danielle , on the left,
 and Michelle, flank their mother.
That's their baby sister, Rachel, in the center. 
We decided to get a jump on our joint "Christmas vacations" this year and start baking on Saturday, Dec. 3. But we didn't exactly get a jump on the day because we didn't get moving until 1 p.m. And even then, we didn't have our supplies. So, I shopped with Lisa's oldest girls, Michelle and Danielle, while Lisa got us organized in the kitchen.

Armed with $50 worth of ingredients, we were all set to begin with Sugar Cookies. Unfortunately, Lisa couldn't find her "Joy" cookbook and mine was at home. After searching the kitchen, Lisa asked the girls if they had seen it. Danielle recalled that Mike (Lisa's husband) had been reading it in the bathroom! (He was looking for ways to cook oysters.) After spraying it with Lysol, we were ready to roll. Until it was time to roll the dough — no rolling pin! This time Michelle was responsible — Lisa found it in her room! We still haven't figured that one out...

What we learned:

Remember to use 1 teaspoonful of nutmeg in a double batch of Sugar Cookies. They're hard to time for doneness; we wound up judging by sight, touch and smell. I didn't like the angel cutters because I didn't really know how to decorate them, apart from spreading them with white icing (but the girls did). Lisa also lost her trusty star cutter but we found the wreath (no more makeshifts with glasses and jars). We also used a lovely holly leaf, the old star, a tree, and a snowman (whose darned scarf kept breaking off!). 

Make two double batches for approximately 11 dozen cookies. We decided to frost and decorate them the next day to give our backs a break.

A Word of Advice About Cookies

1993 - Note to Selves

We made all these cookies (and the Chex Party Mix) in three sessions. We used aluminum cookie sheets, which we cooled on the porch to keep the process rolling. 
We made 62 dozen total (that’s 744 cookies!) and two pans of Peanut Butter Fingers and two pans of Barb's Brownies. We gave Mom a half-dozen of each variety for her cookie tray, except for the Whoopie Pies, which we hoard until Christmas.
After we take out Mom’s share, we divide and freeze until Christmas is near. It’s so funny how the tables have turned. Here we are freezing all of our cookies as the kids look sadly on, and we used to moan about Mom freezing all the cookies she made for Christmas. In fact, we developed a taste for frozen Chocolate Chip Cookies by raiding the freezer all December long. Then we’d wear our most innocent expressions as Mom frowned into her freezer and swore she made more than what was there.
I took a sampling of assorted goodies in to work and, later that week, I got a recipe from my gal pal Carla for the scrummy Peanut Butter Bursts that she brought in to the newsroom to share. 
We didn’t get a chance to use the cookie gun Lisa bought. She found a recipe for Cocoa Cookies and there’s a Lemon Spritz variety that we will definitely try next year. 
All the cookies were baked in Lisa’s electric oven at about 10 degrees lower than specified because it runs hot. We kept a sink-ful of soapy suds going to ease the workload. We took turns stirring but I do all the rolling and cutting of the Sugar Cookies
Next year: MAKE MORE!
Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.

Monday, 26 November 2012

1993 - Chex Party Mix? That's Not a Cookie!

We realized that there are a few things that are going to pop up in Our Cookie Journal that don't exactly fit the profile. 

However, since they are a necessary ingredient in the Holiday Mix, they will be covered here. Enter Chex Party Mix. Grandma Baker used to make it too but she called it Nuts 'N' Bolts. I love that. Her version had the obligatory Chex cereals, but Cheerios were the nuts and pretzel rods were the bolts. Now it's made with all manner of ingredients but we tend to follow the recipe on the Chex box, substituting Bugles for bagel chips. (We always get silly and put the pointed corn chips on our fingers for the witchy look too.)

This year, we made more botches than batches! We had the floor batch, in which I knocked a pan of mix ready to be baked on the basement floor at Lisa's (she has two ovens - how handy is that?). We laughed our rears off about how it would taste and what we'd find in it but, naturally, decided to throw it out. We burned the first batch by baking it at 350 degrees instead of 250. So, we sprang into action, righted the temperature and churned out some primo mix. Then we made the crumbly batch that comes from the last bits in all the cereal boxes. Not a pretty sight — we couldn't find a square in there!  — but still good enough to eat.

NOTE: The General Mills website has a link for a half recipe. I have to laugh at the notion of a half-batch! Why would you ever make a half-batch?!?

1993 - Bar None

When I arrived at Lisa's house for our "bar" session, we realized we didn't have enough eggs. So, her oldest daughter, Michelle, and I went Krogering. Even though we were in a rush, we opened the carton for an inspection, making sure none of the eggs were cracked. They looked fine - in fact, to our delight, they all had little red stars on them! I complained later to Lisa that eggs at her Kroger were quite expensive and she pointed out that I had bought Eggsland's Best brand and that's why they had stars stamped on their shells. I had no idea the "nutritionally superior" dairy product even existed. So, next time, I will have to pay attention and just buy regular large eggs at regular prices and to heck with superior nutrition - they're for baked goods, after all.  

Since we were making Peanut Butter Fingers and Barb's Brownies, we bought disposable aluminum pans too. They made both these treats easy to store and retrieve from the freezer. Chocoholics that we are, we used 12 ounces of chocolate chips on each pan of Fingers (instead of the 6 ounces called for in the recipe). We made two 13x9-inch pans each; but did we make enough? Another old favorite from Grandma Baker's freezer, they go fast.

I got the brownie recipe from Barbara Doussard, the lady who works with me in the TV bureau at the newspaper. She brought them into work once and they were just perfect — moist and chewy, with no need for frosting. Between greedy bites and moans of pleasure, I asked her for the recipe.

Peanut Butter Fingers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream, till light and fluffy:
1/2 c oleo (that's Grandma Baker's way of saying margarine)

Add, and cream well:
1/2 c granulated sugar 
1/2 c light brown sugar

Blend in:
1 egg
1/3 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir in and mix well:
1 c flour
1 c quick-cooking oats

Spread into greased 13x9-inch baking pan. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
While still warm, sprinkle with 6-oz pkg (1 c) chocolate chips.
Let stand 5 minutes. Slice into rectangles (fingers) and serve.

• • • • •

Barb's Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt, then set aside to cool:
2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 stick butter or margarine

Beat until pale yellow:
2 eggs
1 c  sugar

Add and blend until smooth:
1/2 c flour
dash salt

Add and blend:
1/2 tsp vanilla

Pour into greased 8x8- or 9x9-inch baking pan.
Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and slice into one dozen square brownies.

1993 - Whoopie!

I really should make a copy of this recipe,
which I copied from Grandma Baker years ago.
We made about 4 dozen Whoopie Pies too because it just wouldn't feel like Christmas at our house without these yumsters. Grandma Baker always had an endless supply of them in her big chest freezer out in the garage when we were growing up. Four dozen seems like a paltry amount for us (especially since Dad can eat about four at a time) but it actually takes two cookies to make one sandwich.

We were a bit concerned about using raw eggs with all the warnings about salmonella now, so we used powdered egg whites for the filling (even though we've been eating raw cookie dough all week!). You couldn't tell the difference at all and they were deemed delish.

Matching up the pairs to make sandwiches can be tricky if one person makes all hers big and I make all mine small. Lisa! 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

1 c vegetable shortening
2 c granulated sugar

Beat in:
2 eggs

1 c buttermilk
2 Tbsp vanilla

Sift together, then add:
4 1/2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 c cocoa
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

1 c hot tap water

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for eight minutes.

For the filling, beat together:
2 egg whites (or 4 tsp powdered egg whites and 1/4 c water)

2 Tbsp vanilla

4 Tbsp flour

Add and beat until creamy:
2 c powdered sugar

Again, add and beat until smooth:
2 c powdered sugar

Pair cookies of similar sizes and fill to make sandwiches.
Yield: about 2 dozen

1993 - PeeBees

Again, we used a "Joy" recipe for the Peanut Butter Cookies. However, we used 1 1/2, not 1, cups of flour. We always use butter when given a choice. The PeeBees were moist and chewy, not at all crumbly. After rolling them into balls, we rolled them in granulated sugar. We wound up with 15 dozen but we needed two sessions (that's two double batches) for these too because we gobbled them up!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat until soft:
1/2 c butter or shortening

Add gradually and blend until creamy:
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar

Beat in:
1 egg
1 c peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift before measuring and add:
1 to 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

Roll the dough into small balls. Place them on a greased cookie sheet. Press each ball flat with the back of a fork. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes.

Yield: about 5 dozen cookies

1993 - Ode to Joy!

My poor, battered copy of "Joy of Cooking"
has seen better days. My friend
Janet's mom called her copy her Bible.

Our Sugar Cookies were perfect, as usual. We used a "Joy" recipe called Rich Roll Cookies but we replaced the cinnamon with nutmeg, as per Lisa's experience and preference. We used Betty Crocker creamy deluxe sour cream frosting.

This year, we used three shapes: trees, stars and wreaths. We used cookie cutters for the trees and stars. But we had to improvise for the wreaths. We used a drinking glass for the wreath shape, and a jar that held the nonpareils to cut out the centers. We had some cute star-shaped decorations for the stars; and sprinkles and nonpareils for the trees. We used little red-hots on the wreaths (even though we don't like to eat them - they look good!). We had 10 dozen to split between us.

Note for next year: It's best to make these first because they are so time-consuming.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

1 c butter
2/3 c sugar

Beat in:
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine and add:
2 1/2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Chill dough 3 to 4 hours before rolling.
Roll and cut into shapes.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly colored.
Yield: about 5 dozen

1993 - Use Your Gourd

We haven't made Pumpkin Cookies in a few years — I don't know why either because they were soft, flavorful and smelled heavenly when we pulled them from the oven. We use the recipe from "Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (1975, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc.) but we alter it. We don't use nuts or raisins, and we substitute 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg for the 1/2 tsp of allspice. Also, we use butter, not shortening. So, we really just use "Joy" as a jumping-off point!

We frosted them with Betty Crocker Creamy Deluxe cream cheese frosting, with 1/2 tsp nutmeg stirred in. These babies were perfect. We needed two sessions for these too and wound up with 15 dozen.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream together:
1 c butter or shortening
1 c granulated sugar

Add and mix well:
1 c cooked pumpkin (1 15-ounce can)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together and add to above mixture:
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

Stir in:
1 c chopped nuts
1 c raisins

Drop cookies onto a well-greased cookie sheet and bake about 15 minutes.

Yield: about 5 dozen

Sunday, 25 November 2012

1993 - Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

We usually make Nestle’s Original Toll House Cookies for Christmas but Lisa tried these around Halloween and declared them to be scrumptious. So, we made these and soon ran out. So, we baked more! We doubled the recipe and wound up with 18 dozen.
We made an executive decision to add chopped pecans — sorry, Dad! We found the recipe in “Joy of Cooking,” by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (1975, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc.).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
1/2 c butter
Add and cream well:
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
Combine and beat until smooth:
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
Sift together and add to the above ingredients: 
1 c sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
When beaten smooth, add:
1 c uncooked quick rolled oats
3/4 c chocolate chips
Beat the mixture well. Drop cookies 2 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.
Yield: about 3 dozen

NOTE: We never, ever grease the cookie sheets. We buy the non-stick variety and use parchment paper. Works a charm! (You can even reuse the parchment paper — both sides.)

1993 - Foreword (& Forward)

My sister Lisa and I decided to start Our Cookie Journal this year so we can keep track of “signature” changes to recipes we use each Christmas; what and how much we’ve made; what we liked and didn’t like; and just general reference notes for future sessions. And aside from thinking of ourselves as cookie perfectionists, we’re hopelessly sentimental! It will be fun looking back on our trials and tribulations of Christmas baking through the years. 
We had three baking sessions this year and I’d say we were fairly organized. The first time, we both took off work the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was baking frenzy at its finest! We worked from 9 to 5 (while her two older girls were at school). Rachel, the baby, made a few appeals but nothing too demanding. Our two other baking binges were weekends but we overcame the little distractions and had splendid results all around.
We baked 62 dozen cookies, two pans each of Barb’s Brownies, and two pans each of the Peanut Butter Fingers that Grandma Baker used to make.