Monday, June 25, 2007

Cookies, cookies everywhere!

Cookies, cookies everywhere!

That pretty much describes my kitchen yesterday afternoon. I had a plan to bake 9 dozen cookies for Vacation Bible School which is being held by our church this week. (Most people buy cookies for this to serve as snacks for the kids each day -- and, in fact, I would buy cookies myself if I actually had to be physically present at VBS this week.) I wanted to bake homemade cookies, but also wanted to bake a bunch of them as quickly and easily as possible. So I turned to a recipe I hadn't used in years -- Angel Cookies, from an old Farm Journal Cookie Cookbook. This is a big recipe that is supposed to make 9 dozen, and you can divide the dough up to flavor it in different ways to make several different-tasting cookies all from the same batch of dough. I haven't a clue as to why these are called Angel Cookies, but I imagine it may have something to do with their light, melt-in-the-mouth texture -- which, I think, is a hallmark of cookies made with cream of tartar.


1 cup butter or real margarine, softened
1 cup butter-flavor crisco
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. salt
Optional ingredients/techniques*
Sugar for dipping tops

Cream together the butter, crisco, and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, to mix thoroughly. Add vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add to creamed mixture to blend well. If you like, divide the dough up and add some optional ingredients to each section to make different flavors of cookies. Chill dough for 1 hour or until it is easy to handle, if necessary.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and dip tops in sugar. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 or 2 drops of water on each cookie (to make them crackle nicely). Bake at 350º for 15 minutes.

Remove cookies and cool on racks. Makes 8 to 9 dozen cookies.

(Recipe may easily be divided in half to make fewer cookies.)

* Optional ingredients: chopped peanuts, coconut, toffee bits, chocolate or butterscotch chips, etc. Optional technique: Dip tops of cookies in cinnamon-sugar for a Snickerdoodle effect.

I really didn't want to mess around with dividing the dough into separate bowls, etc. So here's what I did:

1) Made 3 dozen of the cookies to approximate Snickerdoodles by simply dipping the tops into cinnamon-sugar.

2) Added 1 cup toffee bits to the remaining dough and made 2 dozen toffee cookies

. 3) Added 1/2 cup butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the remaining toffee dough and made about 3 dozen chip-filled cookies.

As you can see, the recipe let me down and did not produce the 9 dozen cookies I needed. So I turned to another old favorite, Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, which I remembered as being easy and good. Here's that recipe:


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or real margarine, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350º. Mix sugar, margarine, egg, water, and vanilla to blend well. (Mixture will appear curdled; don’t panic.) Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into sugar mixture to blend well. Stir in oats and chocolate chips to blend thoroughly.

(At this point you have a choice. These are a drop cookie, but I don’t like the messy look of most drop cookies. If you choose to drop them, use a cookie scoop and drop by rounded teaspoons, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

OR, for molded cookies, chill the dough for an hour or so [or place in the freezer for 15 minutes] and then form the dough into 1-inch balls and place, 2 inches apart, on the parchment-lined baking sheets.)

Bake the cookies at 350º for 10 to 13 minutes. Remove immediately to cooling racks. Yield: 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

I must hasten to add that neither of these recipes are "to-die-for" cookies. They are good, sort of old-fashioned, family-style, cookie-jar cookies. Kids usually like them quite a lot.

So that was my cookie-baking adventure for yesterday! Today I'm heading back toward "normalcy" and hope to post more about that later.

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