Back to school with cookie recipes

Wow! What a show we got on last Monday! I didn’t get much accomplished with watching the sun and the moon on TV. Those who traveled to one of the areas where there was total eclipse had an experience they will remember the rest of their lives. In the 70s, husband Norm had experienced a similar sighting, but not as large as this one was. Watching the way everyone enjoyed it with everyone else was heartwarming. Recently, it seems all people want to do is pick a fight with each other when they are in a crowd of others.

If folks on Monday could enjoy a day with those they did not know, why is it so hard for others to not cause trouble? Anyway, Monday was great, and if I had been younger, I would have been where I could have seen everything with my own eyes (like Nashville, maybe).

All the schools around us have started for the year. Summer seems to get shorter and shorter as we get older.

That is a reminder to live each day fully and not to put off any dreams we might still have. It is a reminder, also, to the students that these carefree school days will end before they realize it, so enjoy them and don’t complain about going to school. Parents, treasure those kids — they are gifts to you for such a short time in life.

A lot of the young folks in our valley had a very busy summer this year according to the reports in the paper — parades for school band members, practice for young athletes, raising animals to be sold at the fairs, taking part in marathons — the list was filled with local young people being involved in the good things in life. We are fortunate in our valley to have youth with good life values. We hear and see in the news of other areas where so much bad seems to be taking place and young people getting involved in areas they don’t even know what it is about. Thank you, parents in the MOV, for teaching these values to the youth in your families.

And to our local young folks, you are great, and the local folks are proud of you. You are the future of our country. As you move up in the school year ladder, have a dream for your future and don’t ever, ever, let anyone steal your dream. Think about what you want to do and be in five years, and then plan your learning and activities toward that goal. And, that math that you grumble about really will help you all your life — it teaches you to think and get the foundations straight for your future. (It, also, keeps you from being cheated out of the wrong change at the cash register).

Everyone should have a “Bucket List.” Like the old lady in “South Pacific” says, “if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna to know if you have a dream come true?” Everyone needs to have something for which to look forward, even if it is only to get a favorite fast-food sandwich. Of course, I hope that your hopes are higher than that. One of the nasty things about aging is that one’s dreams get dimmed down. (Like no garden next year.) No problem, though — more time to cook, shop, play on the computer and dream up vacations.

With school starting, the cookie jar needs filling. Those little ones are hungry when they get off the bus. If Mom is too busy (working a full-time job, etc.,) then Grandma maybe can step up to help. All kids say Grandmas make the best cookies, anyway. Some suggestions are included today. Veggies or fruit — with some dip — might be enjoyed, too.

If the kids help making treats, they are more apt to eat them, even the veggies. An example of this is a length of celery stalk — 3 or 4 inches long, filled with peanut butter and raisins (for bugs) lined up on top of the peanut butter. Young ones, especially in the “gross age,” love eating “bugs on top of the mud.” Let them have fun with food and they will eat more of the “right” things.

The recipes today feature some cookies that all kids (even up to and including kids age 100) love. They are easy to eat — no knife or fork — and fit right in a pocket in case of snitching one or two out of the cookie jar. Never let them know you saw them do that. If Grandpa gets crumbs on the recliner from a stolen cookie, just smile and be glad he is still around. (Likewise for the little ones.) Take some cookies to your elderly neighbor and “sit and visit for a spell.” Say “Thank you” to a vet and all those who keep you safe; hug your kids; and say a prayer for our country.

God bless.

***

RAISIN FILLED COOKIES

1 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup white corn syrup

1 egg

1 cup raisins, chopped

1/2 cup nuts, chopped — optional

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Chop raisins, put into a saucepan and add sugar, syrup, and water. Cook until the consistency of thick cream. Flavor with lemon extract. Cool.

For cookie dough:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla, then milk and flour mixture. Roll out dough and cut in round or square pieces. Place filling in center of cut-out cookie. Cover with like-cut cookie and press edges. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

NOTE: I have used this recipe using mincemeat for the filling, too. Add a piece of a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar between the two pieces of cookie dough for another version.

***

MIX FOR COOKIES

A batch of cookies is minutes away with this mix.

8 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups brown sugar, packed

4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups vegetable shortening

Combine flour, sugars, salt and baking soda. Mix well. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter (I use my electric mixer) until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Put into an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. This keeps well for at least three months. Be sure to label with date made and ingredients.

This mix can be used to make many kinds of cookies and some recipes using this mix follow. I try to keep it on hand all the time, but especially in the “cookie making season” of the holidays. When I make the cookies, I add a bit more leavening and flavoring, as I have noted in the following recipes. Enjoy.

***

SNICKERDOODLES

2 1/2 cups Cookie Mix

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine Cookie Mix, baking soda, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl (cereal bowl works great). Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Note: I use parchment paper on all cookie sheets and have a small ice cream dipper to shape the cookies.

***

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

3 cups Cookie Mix

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and flatten with fork tines. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are browned in a preheated 375-degrees oven. (No parchment paper? — lightly grease cookie sheets.)

Variation: For Peanut-butter and Jelly Cookies, do not flatten with fork. Make an indentation with your thumb in the center of the balls and fill with grape jelly, or any flavor jelly you like, like Blackberry or Raspberry. Another variation is to make the indentation but do not fill it. As soon as cookies come out of the oven, place a Chocolate Kiss in the indentation.

***

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

3 cups Cookie Mix

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine mix, milk, vanilla, and egg. If needed, a BIT more milk can be added. Blend well. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a slightly greased cookie sheet — or use parchment paper in cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown in preheated 375-degrees oven.

Variations for these cookies:

Coconut can be added.

M&M’s work well in this, either plain or with the chocolate chips.

Other flavors of chips make for different cookies.

White Chocolate chips and macadamia nuts made great cookies.

Candied fruit, with or without nuts or chocolate chips tastes great.

***

ISLAND MACAROONS

2 cups Cookie Mix

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 can (8.5 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Maraschino cherries, well drained, for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine cookie mix, egg yolks, pineapple and coconut. Stir until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased or parchment paper cover cookie sheet. Top with maraschino cherries. Bake in preheated 350-degrees oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Variations: Add broken dried banana chips, and/or macadamia nuts to above recipe for a real taste of the islands.

***

Patty Christopher is a longtime columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

COMMENTS