250 Cookbooks: Cookies

Cookbook #127: Cookies, Natalie Hartanov Haughton, HPBooks, Inc., Tucson, AZ, 1983.

Cookies CookbookCookies. One of my favorite foods in the world. Homemade, of course!

Cookies was a birthday gift from my mother to me in 1987. My mother was a master cookie baker, as I’ve probably mentioned quite a few times in this blog. Looking through this cookbook today, I realize she put a lot of thought into the choice of this particular book. The recipes are definitely her type of cookie, and the collection reflects her entire repertoire – especially the drop, bar, and rolled cookies.

Cookies birthday noteI have totally under-used this cookbook. There is a coffee-cup stain on one page and I see a couple wrinkled pages here and there, but I didn’t mark any recipes as “tried”. I guess there are huge swaths of my life when I just didn’t make cookies because of the calories. Or, I just baked a handful of same-old-recipes when we all needed a cookie fix.

This will change: today I well reshelve this cookbook with my very-favorites! There are lots of recipes I want to try in this book and all are from-scratch. The photos are great too.

Cookies begins with a few pages of cookie basics. “Successful Cookie Baking” reiterates  the way my mother taught me to bake cookies – and the way I continue to bake them to this day. I actually wrote down some important cookie-baking points in 1993 when I made a bound “Cookie Book” as a present for a friend:

“I always measure flour by dipping a measuring cup into a large canister of flour; I almost never sift before (or after) measuring. I always use unbleached flour. I use margarine (the cheap, stick kind) but you are welcome to substitute butter – I’m sure it would make everything better. Do use real chocolate chips and real vanilla.

“I always beat the shortening, sugar, and egg mixture extremely well, until quite fluffy. Then, add the combined dry ingredients and mix only until they are all mixed in.”

I have switched to butter rather than margarine in most of my cooking. It used to be that we were told margarine was healthier (and cheaper) than butter, so I used margarine a lot. Health advisories have changed, so it’s butter for me these days whenever I try a new recipe. But: many cookie recipes bake up differently with butter than margarine. I remember an Alton Brown episode of Good Eats wherein he made chocolate chip cookies three ways – with butter, with margarine, and with shortening – and each turned out different. And that is my experience too. (When I was still living at home, a girlfriend came over and we made chocolate chip cookies. She pulled butter out of the refrigerator instead of the margarine the recipe called for, and those cookies spread way out on baking. Wow! A first experience with experiments in baking. (Mother always – always! – followed a recipe to a “T”. I hardly ever do that these days.)

Anyway. I am only gradually changing my older margarine-based recipes to butter-based, making sure each time that adjustments do not need to be made to have them turn out the way I like.

I pick up this cookbook on a morning when my day’s plans include something very special: I am going to spend the afternoon with my 20 month old grandson. Thought I: “Ah, I know what I’ll do! I’ll whip up a cookie batter at home and take some to bake with him!”

Grandmothers and cookies, YES!

Which recipe to bake? I choose “Zucchini Drops”. I think they will pass the strict codes of “natural and healthy” foods that my daughter wants for her child. Except the sugar: I’ll have to play that down. “Just a little sugar in these, honest! A ton of zucchini and walnuts – good foods!”

Zucchini Drops recipeZucchini Drops
makes about 6 dozen small cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup grated unpeeled raw zucchini
  • 2 – 2 1/4 cups flour (use some whole wheat flour if you want to)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • some salt – only if you are using unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flaked cocout
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Using a mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the zucchini. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, (and salt), and beat just until thoroughly blended. If the batter is pretty wet, add up to 1/4 cup more flour. Stir in the coconut and walnuts.

(The wetness of zucchini varies. Basically, you want the batter to be stiff enough to drop onto baking pan – my batter needed the extra 1/4 cup flour. If your first batch of cookies flattens out too much, add a bit more flour.)

Drop by teaspoonfulls onto a baking sheet. Bake at 375˚ for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned. (I first tried these at 350˚ for 15 minutes, but I like them a little better baked at the higher temperature.)

Zucchini DropsThese were a big success! They are very soft and moist and flavorful. And a little healthy. They don’t taste real sweet, actually, my husband calls them “muffin tops” instead of cookies. (Go ahead and eat them for breakfast!)

Cookie EaterMy little cookie eater takes his cookies very seriously! He ate two and wanted more. They put him in a very good mood!

250 Cookbooks: Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes

Cookbook #118: Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes, General Foods Corporation, 1932.

Baker'a Chocolate CookbookThis small cook book had me totally fooled. Piled in a messy stack of booklets, I thought it was just another manufacturer’s cookbook from the sixties or seventies. The cover is missing. The recipes read “modern”, not dated. I find my mother’s notes on a few of the cake recipes, so it wasn’t mine. Finally I think to ask: “when was this published?” OMG, it’s from 1932! It should have been shelved with the vintage cookbooks.

I have found another treasure, albeit a little one.

Here is a photo of the cover that I got on the internet:

cover of bakers 1932 CBIn a previous on the Mexican Cookbook, I wrote about the South American origins of chocolate. “The Spaniard ships that returned to Europe were laden with seeds and cuttings, which flourished in various climates.” By 1932, chocolate had been a part of American cuisine for four hundred years. Here’s a quote from the introduction of Baker’s Best Chocolate Recipes:

“Four hundred years of popularity. Few flavors have ever had the widespread popularity of chocolate. Rich . . . smooth . . . fragrant . . .  its delightful flavor has appealed to everyone wherever and however it has been served.”

And about chocolate milk:

“Foamy, creamy-rich cocoa is a wonderful food with which to woo finicky child-appetites – an easy and delicious way of helping to include the daily quart of milk in their meals. Grown-ups welcome cocoa, too, as a way of building up run-down systems. And in this day of slimmer waists, cocoa is popular because it provides nourishment that is satisfying but not fattening.”

According to this book, the first chocolate mill in the US was built on the banks of the Neponset river in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1780 it became the establishment of Walter Baker and Company. We can still buy Baker’s chocolate today, although it is currently owned by Kraft Foods.

This excerpt from the book gives the story behind the logo:

chocolate storychocolate storyI will definitely keep this cookbook. Not only because it is old, but because it has good basic chocolate recipes, like for a cocoa syrup if I run out of the bottled kind, and cakes and chiffon pie and eclairs and on and on. I decide to make the brownies for this blog. Sure, I have dozens of recipes for brownies, but this one is from 1932! I think one of my older cookbooks has the original brownie recipe, but that will be the subject of a later blog post.

Here is a scan of the brownies page and the facing page, just to show you the condition of this book:

brownies recipeHere is a larger version of the recipe:

brownies recipeThat’s my mother’s “good” on the recipe. The photo of these brownies is on another page:

browniesI made these just like the recipe, except I cooked them a little less. I even used Baker’s chocolate:

Baker's baking chocolateBrownies, 1932 Baker’s version

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 ounces Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir together the flour and baking powder.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and let cool a bit.

Beat the eggs, then add the sugar and beat it in. Add the chocolate mixture, beating thoroughly, then add the flour mixture, the vanilla, and the nuts.

Bake in a greased 8-inch square pan for 30-35 minutes, until they test done with a toothpick.

browniesPerfect brownies!

250 Cookbooks: Vive La Machine

Cookbook #114: Vive La Machine, Moulinex Products, Inc., editor Sue Spitler, published by Marketing Communications International, USA, 1977.

Vive La Machine CB“A superb collection of international recipes and menu suggestions prepared especially for the new breed of electric kitchen appliances.”

And what is the “new breed” of kitchen appliances? Food processors: counter-top machines that shred, slice, chop, and puree foods. They became available for home cooks in the US sometime in the 1970s. I got my first one in the 80s. It was a “La Machine”. Hence I own this cookbook!

But alas, that old La Machine bit the dust. It did a pretty good job of shredding: I used it a lot to grate cheese, zucchini and carrots. The slicer worked okay but it was often easier to slice small amounts of vegetables with just a knife. You had to hold a bowl under the spitter-shute because the shredded/sliced foods came flying out. I liked the nice small bowl with a spinning blade for dicing vegetables and grinding meats. A drawback of the  La Machine was that it was hard to clean, since the dirty parts were not immersible.

But the big issue with my La Machine was the funky connection of the top to the bottom.  I had to buy new parts at least once. I eventually replaced it with a Cuisinart brand food processor.

I kind of like this Vive La Machine cookbook. The recipes rely on freshly grated and chopped foods, thus recipes are from-scratch and up my alley.

For this blog, I choose to make “Fudge Brownies”.

Fudge Brownies RecipeI am going to re-name these “Chocolate Zucchini Brownies”. They are chocolaty, but not really fudgy.

My version is below: I halved the recipe and made a couple small changes.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
makes an 8×8-inch pan of brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter (3/8 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, lightly packed (about 1 medium zucchini, whatever that is)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer, blend well the butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Add the milk and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth. Add the zucchini and nuts.

Pour into a greased (I used non-stick spray) 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350˚ for 35-45 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Chocolate Zucchini BrowniesThis recipe is a keeper! Yes I already have about a dozen great brownie recipes, but this one needs to be put in my repertoire. These are kind of light and fluffy and are especially moist. If no one told you zucchini was in them, I doubt you would guess. And the cinnamon – the cinnamon! It adds a . . . je ne sais quoi touch . . . never leave out the cinnamon.

These brownies fell just a little bit in the center of the pan. Since we live at 5400 feet, next time I will apply my high-altitude baking suggestions to see if it helps. Doesn’t matter a lot, these taste yummy!

 

250 Cookbooks: Cookies, Brownies and Bars

Cookbook #111: Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Classic Cookbooks, The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.

Cookies Brownies Bars CBIf you have a great memory, you will recognize the photo above. I have already covered this cookbook on this blog. But, that was my copy, and this is a copy that I sent my mother. Since I had entered both into my cookbook database when I stopped at 250 cookbooks, I have to cover it again! My obsessive-compulsive rules, my blog.

I sent this copy of Cookies, Brownies, and Bars to my mother. On the first page, she wrote “from Patty Christmas 1991”. Before I mailed it, I hand-wrote “good” and “great” on many of the recipes, and Mother added her own notes. I’m going to hold onto this cookbook just for that. It makes me smile, a little sadly perhaps, and it brings back memories.

For this blog, I decide to make a very chocolate-y brownie: “German Chocolate Saucepan Brownies”. I used to make these a lot when the kids were around to eat them. I wrote on the recipe: “DELICIOUS”. For me to write in all caps is unusual – it’s like shouting – and means these are stupendous brownies!

German Chocolate Saucepan BrowniesI make these just like the recipe.

German Chocolate Brownies

brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 4-ounce bar of German’s Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat the oven to 350˚ and butter an 8×8-inch baking pan (I use a glass pan).

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Take off the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs and mix in well. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt, then add to the chocolate mixture. Spread into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350˚ for 18-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Take out of the oven and turn the oven to high broil (you can leave the oven rack in the middle of the oven).

While the brownies bake, prepare the topping. Mix the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and milk, blending well. Then, add the coconut and pecans.

Use a small spoon to drop dollops of the topping on the brownies until the brownies are just about covered evenly. Gently spread the topping until the brownies are covered.

Place the brownies under the broiler. Broil for about a minute: WATCH CAREFULLY! The topping can brown pretty quickly, so don’t leave the area!

Remove the brownies from the oven and cool. It’s best if they are completely cool before you cut them.

German Chocolate BrowniesDELICIOUS!

250 Cookbooks: Cookies, Brownies and Bars

Cookbook #95: Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Classic Cookbooks, The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN, 1991.

Cookies, Brownies and BarsI have covered several Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbooks in this blog, and three Pillsbury cookbooks that are not Bake-Off associated: Simply From Scratch Recipes (1977), Healthy Home-Style Cooking (1989), and Cookies, Bars and Brownies (1994). I recall a time when these small cookbooks became available monthly, either at the supermarket’s check-out stand or by subscription. I did a little web research and found this to be true:

“Pillsbury Publications launched the concept of digest-sized, full color food magazines in 1979. By 1989, the concept had developed into a monthly series of Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks that were available at supermarket checkouts and later by subscription. The recipes all use Pillsbury name brand products. The wonderful photos are guaranteed to get you in the mood to cook! Advertising Cookbooks is pleased to carry many of the back issues of this popular recipe magazine.” —Advertising Cookbooks, accessed 12/2014.

These “advertising” cookbooks can have some great recipes. The Advertising Cookbooks website even offers some of the back issues for sale. They sell my Healthy Home-Style Cooking for $6 USD. Pillsbury, Better Homes and Gardens, Betty Crocker, Women’s Circle, Land O Lakes and many other companies produced/produce this type of cookbook. (If interested, do visit the Food Company Cookbook blog associated with the Advertising Cookbooks website.)

My copy of Zestful Recipes for Every Meal – published in 1931 – is the oldest digest-sized, in-color advertising cookbook that I own. It’s pretty cool.

Cookies, Brownies and Bars is one of my favorite Pillsbury Classics Cookbooks. It was published in 1991, at a time when I was baking a lot of cookies for my young family or for friends at work or for Christmas packages. I tried and liked a lot of recipes in this cookbook: Peanut and Candy Jumbles, Almond Kiss Cookies, Ranger Crispies, Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers, Chocolate Chip Cookies Supreme, Chocolate Raisin Smile Cookies, Almond Fudge Brownies, Fruitcake Fantasy Brownies, German Chocolate Saucepan Brownies (these are fantastic! I’ve made them a lot), Chocolaty Caramel Pecan Bars, Mocha Almond Fudge Bars, and Applesauce Granola Bars. And the recipe for Chocolate Pixies is quite similar similar to one of my Favorites: Chocolate Chews.

Now that is a record amount of cookie recipes for me to have tried from one book!

Another thing I like about this cookbook are the “Cook’s Notes” on many of the pages. Next to a recipe for gingerbread bars that calls for molasses, a Cook’s Note explains the difference between light, dark, and blackstrap molasses. Another note helps the cook decide between butter and margarine. The Chocolate Raisin Smile Cookies have a Cook’s Note about dark and golden raisins.

And another good thing! A lot of the recipes call for what we generally consider “healthy” ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables (e.g. apples, raisins, zucchini) and whole grains (whole wheat flour, oatmeal). Most of the recipes are from-scratch. They even give directions for baking at high altitude.

I decide to make “Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers”. I made them before and marked them as “good”. This drop cookie recipe has brown sugar, a lot of vanilla, oatmeal, coconut, and M&Ms®. I am sure these are better than just “good”!

Oatmeal Coconut Fun Chippers original recipeNote the note next to the recipe in Cookies, Brownies and Bars. It explains the difference between old-fashioned rolled oats, quick-cooking rolled oats, and instant oats. For this recipe, I have the option of either old-fashioned or quick-cooking oatmeal. I chose old-fashioned, which I am advised will result in a firmer textured cookie. I can also choose between butter and margarine: I chose butter. And, I can choose between M&Ms® or chocolate chips: I chose M&Ms®! Also, since we live at high altitude, I added an extra 2 tablespoons flour.

Getting the M&Ms® required a trip to my small town of Lyons, since I don’t keep them in my pantry. It was a frigid, snowy, icy drive, but I did it – anything for this blog! I was lucky to find them at the gas station store, since the two markets in Lyons carry mostly natural foods. Aah, Colorado.

My version is below.

Oatmeal Coconut M&M® Cookies
makes about 4 1/2 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I used salted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/8 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I used old-fashioned, quick-cooking might give a more tender cookie)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • M&Ms®, about 1 1/2 cups (10 oz.)

Beat the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and eggs and blend well.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add to the beaten mixture and blend until mixed in. Stir in the oatmeal, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets (I lined my cookie sheet with parchment). Bake at 375˚ for 10 minutes.

OatCocoMM cookiesComments

These are not just good, they are very good, and chewy and hearty and sweet! These cookies would be a great energy food on a hike, because they hold together well (like a granola bar).

Here is a batch of cookies waiting to be baked. See the M&Ms®?

ready to bakeI baked the first batch 12 minutes and I think they got a little too browned:

12 minutes bakingI baked the rest of the batches 10 minutes and liked them better. It’s my opinion that they keep better if they are a little bit under-baked.

baked 10 minutes I’ll make these again!

250 Cookbooks: Holiday Cook Book

Cookbook #94: Holiday Cook Book, by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1988.

Sunset Holiday Cook BookChristmas is coming! A good time to look through Holiday Cook Book. I enjoyed turning the pages of recipes and looking at the photos of gorgeous holiday meals. This cook book has ideas for entertaining on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Decorating ideas abound. (I’m kind of lame at decorating.)

This was a fun book to look through, but I really don’t need any more holiday recipes. This cookbook was my mother’s and even she didn’t mark any of the recipes. I will recycle this book. But not before making Black and White Squares! These chocolate and vanilla refrigerator cookies have just a touch of flare, perfect for the holiday season.

Black and White SquaresBlack and White Cookies
makes about 2 1/2 -3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer, then mix in the egg yolk. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the vanilla and milk. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture.

Melt the chocolate (I microwaved it). Divide the dough in half and add the melted chocolate to one half. I kind of kneaded the chocolate in by hand.

Form each half of the dough into a log about 1 1/2-inch in diameter.

cookie logsWrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least two hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, cut each log in half lengthwise. Stack a white layer, then a chocolate layer, and repeat. Press together and square up the sides a bit. Slice 1/8-inch cookies.

slicing cookiesPlace on parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheets.

cookies before bakingBake at 350˚ for 10 minutes.

Comments

We liked these a lot!
Black and White CookiesA couple cookies got a little brown; these were ones that I had sliced a bit thinner. I only baked one batch and put the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator – that’s what I like about refrigerator cookies, you can bake up just a few at a time and always have fresh cookies.

Note added in proof: These cookies are really really great. Subtly rich, subtly chocolate, we kept going back for more. I want to make them again already!

250 Cookbooks: Mrs. Fields Cookie Book

Cookbook #80: Mrs. Fields Cookie Book, Debbi Fields, Time-Life Books Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, 1992.

Mrs. Fields Cookie BookI went through a Mrs. Fields® cookie phase, like many Americans! I got this cookbook for myself, and have often drooled over the recipes.

Debbi Fields opened her first cookie store in Palo Alto in 1977. A store just for cookies was a new concept at the time. And it took off, as today there are many Mrs. Fields® franchises, and you can purchase them online.

The recipes are all excellent, the photos and layout great, and Debbi Fields presents a friendly introduction. I tried several of the recipes over the years, but kept the cookbook nice and clean.

I had no trouble finding a recipe to try. I note that most of the drop cookies are baked at 300˚ for about 20 minutes. Most of my personal cookie recipes call for a 375˚ oven for about 10 minutes. Mrs. Fields® recipes call for butter (not margarine) and are all from-scratch. In the introduction, Debbi states that the recipes call for “ingredients you have on hand.” Yeah, if you keep lots of different kinds of chocolate and vanilla chips on hand!

I decided to try “Sweetie Pies”.

Sweetie Pies RecipeI made them pretty much like the above recipe, just changing the ratios of the different types of chocolate chips and adding a bit more flour.

Sweetie Pies, a Mrs. Fields® cookie recipe, with slight variations

  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (plus 2 tablespoons if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Melt the unsweetened chocolate with 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, either in a double boiler or in the microwave.

Beat the butter with the melted chocolate, then add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.

Add the flour and the three types of chocolate chips. Mix at low speed just until combined.

At this point, the original recipe says to “roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.” Well, my dough was wet and sticky, so I added another 2 tablespoons flour and tried again. Still too sticky. So, I just dropped the dough onto parchment-lined half-sheet pans, then slightly flattened each cookie.

Bake at 375˚ for 10 minutes.

Sweetie PiesThese were delicious! It made almost exactly 2 1/2 dozen, as stated in the original recipe. But if I had made them using 1 1/2 inch balls of dough, my guess is that it would have made a lot less.

The reason I used more milk chocolate chips than called for is because I wanted more of a milk chocolate taste. I had to purchase these (and the white chocolate chips) specifically for this recipe and now I am left with partial bags of all three types of chips. Guess I’ll have to make these cookies again!

250 Cookbooks: Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites

Cookbook #76: Baker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites, General Foods Corp., 6th Edition, 1977.

Baker's Chocolate and Coconut FavoritesBaker’s Chocolate and Coconut Favorites is a booklet-cookbook given to my mother by my aunt in October 1977. That means it was a birthday present! As per the title, every recipe contains chocolate or coconut or both. This would be the go-to book for a coconut cake or macaroons, or the original recipe for German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake. My mother marked just a couple recipes as tried. Me? I haven’t ever used this cookbook, and not sure if I will keep it or not. Most of the recipes are for desserts, and I already have tons of dessert recipes.

I decided to try Coconut Refrigerator Cookies. Mother marked these as “Delicious”:

Coconut Refrigerator CookiesThese turned out great. I used butter in these, but next time I’ll use margarine, and that’s how I am writing my version of this recipe (below). Butter often makes cookies flatten out too much, and I’m pretty sure that my mother would have used margarine, since it’s cheaper.

Coconut Refrigerator Cookies
makes 6-8 dozen, depending on how thinly you slice the cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Beat the butter in a mixer until creamed, then add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats on low speed, then add the pecans and coconut.

Divide the dough into quarters, then roll each portion into a 2-inch diameter log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, a couple hours. Slice into 1/8-inch thick cookies (mine were probably a bit bigger) and place on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375˚ for 8 minutes, or until just lightly brown.

Enjoy!

Coconut Refrigerator Cookies

 

250 Cookbooks: Cookie Book #1

Cookbook #71: Cookie Book #1. Covina Woman’s Club, Covina, California, March 1980.

Cookie Book #1This community cookbook was a gift to my mother from Betty, a good friend of hers and of my aunt’s. My mother and father, both born in 1916,  grew up in Covina, California, and my Aunt Werdie still lives there. Both Betty and my aunt contributed a few recipes to this cookbook. Betty’s contribution of “Santa Claus Cookies” has this comment: “My favorite cookie in the whole-wide world!” Werdie’s contribution “Cookies” states “That’s the only name I have for them”.

Wow, all of these recipes are great! They are just the type of cookie that I grew up with. Werdie contributed her “Snowballs” recipe, those buttery-nutty-powdered-sugar-covered round cookies that she always made – and shared – at Christmas time. One of my favorites, Chocolate Chews, is in this book, contributed by Werdie.

I noted several recipes I’d like to try: Persimmon Oatmeal Cookies, Pumpkin Bars, Anna Banana Squares, Lemon Squares, Cornflake Peanut Butter Bars, Applesauce Bars, and Fresh Ginger Cookies (fresh ginger!). I consider some of the recipes classics of that era: Forgotten Cookies, Unbaked Cookies, Hermits, Brandy Balls.

I grew up on cookies. I love this little community cookbook!

My mother made notes on several recipes in this book. And inside the front cover she has written “from Betty Fletcher Christmas 1979”. See where I get my organizing genes? Those genes led me to do this crazy blog, going through and organizing 250 old cookbooks, some of which should have been thrown away years ago.

I decided to try Lemon Refrigerator Cookies for this blog. Refrigerator cookies are great: you mix them up, roll them into a log, chill them, then slice off individual cookies to bake. Not only are they convenient, but they bake up in a characteristically flat shape, browning nicely around the edges. Generally, these cookies are a bit more shortbread-y than drop cookies. A refrigerator cookie with lemon? Oooo, yum, sounds good.

Lemon Refrigerator Cookies recipeThe recipe calls for “candied lemon”. That’s a stumper: where can I find this ingredient?

I looked up “candied lemon” in my book, Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Herbst (2001). Candied fruits, also called glacé fruits, are prepared by boiling the fruit in sugar and then drying it. In the case of citrus fruits, it is the rind that is used, not the fruit itself. So, I know I am on the right track if I ask for “candied lemon peel”. Candied fruits are generally used in cakes, breads and other sweets.

I googled “candied lemon peel” and came up with several sources. But, I wanted to make the cookies this week, rather than waiting for an ingredient to be shipped. So I took to the stores in Boulder.

First, Whole Foods. A worker at the store helped me search, first pointing out a jar of preserved lemons to which I shook my head “no”. We kept looking. He said they used to carry candied lemon peel, or perhaps “citron”, but could no longer find a source that did not have unacceptable ingredients. “Citron” is an ingredient I used to put in fruitcake. According to Food Lover’s Companion, citron is a semitropical citrus fruit with a lemon-perfumed peel. It is not a lemon, although “citron” is the French word for lemon. (No wonder we get confused.) I eventually gave up the search for candied lemon peel at Whole Foods.

I went downtown and asked for candied lemon peel at the Savory Spice Shop. Nope, they had none, although they do carry some candied items. But they did have a wonderful lemon extract and dried, minced lemon peel. I figured these ingredients would help give the lemon cookies the zip I wanted, so I bought them. Then I walked to Peppercorn.

Peppercorn is chock-full of unusual stuff, although I didn’t have a lot of hope by the time I got there. Perhaps candied lemon peel is an outdated item in 2014. But then – I found it! Yay!

Here are the three lemon products I bought that day:

lemon cookies ingredientsI think the candied lemon peel is important in these cookies because it will add the sensation of chewy bursts of lemon flavor. I will ramp up the lemon zing with the lemon extract and dried lemon peel. If you can’t find any of these ingredients, I suggest you just use lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and grated lemon peel (1 tablespoon). The cookies will still taste great!

Lemon Refrigerator Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon minced, dried lemon peel
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel (if you can find it)

Cream shortening and sugars. Add the egg and beat well, then mix in the lemon juice, extract, rind, and dried peel.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix in. Add the nuts and candied lemon peel.

Form into 2 rolls, each about 2 inched in diameter. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

To bake, cut into 1/4-inch slices and bake on parchment-lined (or greased) baking sheets. Bake at 375˚ for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to brown.

Comments

I ended up making 45 cookies, as opposed to my mother’s 58 cookies. It all depends on how big you make the cookie rolls and how thick you slice them. I used a ruler and found my slices were about 3/8-inch.

slicing lemon cookie doughI like to use parchment-lined baking sheets:

lemon cookies ready to bakeHere the cookies are, nicely cooked and a little brown around the edges:

baked lemon cookiesAnd here they are in the pig!

lemon cookies in pigThese are excellent cookies. I broke one cookie in half the next morning to see how they tasted after sitting overnight, and I wanted more more more! They are that good.

Happy Cooky Baking!Happy Cooky Baking to all!

250 Cookbooks: The Ideals Cookie Cookbook

Cookbook #68: Ideals Cookie Cookbook. Darlene Kronschnabel. An Ideals Publication, Milwaukee, Wis, 1977.

Ideals Cookie CookbookLook at the cover of this cookbook: No author is listed. I only know that the author is “Darlene Kronschnabel” because her name is at the bottom of the brief introduction on the first page. A google search reveals that she authored quite a few cookbooks. She looks like a nice lady!

I had trouble finding the publication date too! It is not printed anywhere inside or on the cover. But the ISBN is, and by following this lead I found that it was published in 1977.

I am not quite sure how I came to own this cookbook, although on the back cover is printed “U. of C. Federal Credit Union”. But is that University of California, or University of Colorado? California would mean it came from my mother, Colorado would be my acquisition. Neither of us marked up this cookbook.

This is a pretty good cookie cookbook. If I didn’t already have oodles of cookie recipes, this book would be a useful addition to my bookshelves. I like the recipes – they are clear and include reasonable ingredients. I probably will keep this book as a general reference. One recipe I marked to try is the one for Chinese-style fortune cookies. Decades ago I had fun making fortune cookies from scratch and might want to do it again some day, and I have no idea where my original recipe is.

I had no trouble finding a recipe to try. I chose to make an oatmeal cookie. On page 24 is a recipe for the “Best Raisin Oatmeal Cookie” (in the section for flavorful fruit cookies) and on page 39 is a recipe for “Chewy Oatmeal Cookies” (in the section for old-fashioned cereal and grain cookies). The two recipes are almost identical. The chewy ones call for cinnamon and nutmeg, and that swayed my choice. Here is the original recipe:

Chewy Oatmeal CookiesThe recipe does not specify what type of oats to use. Old-fashioned? Quick? My guess is that in 1977 most Americans used quick oats. But to make them chewier, I used some quick oats and some whole rolled oats (the kind I use for granola). I like a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg, so if I make these again, I’ll use the amounts I list below.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I used 1 1/2 cups minute-oatmeal and 1/2 cup thick rolled oats)
  • 1 cup raisins

Stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream the shortening with the brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in oatmeal and raisins.

Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto baking sheets. (Used greased baking sheets, or use parchment-lined baking sheets.) Bake at 350˚ for 12-15 minutes.

Chewy Oatmeal CookiesThese are good! I used a mixture of sultans and raisins; my advice is to use only regular raisins because they show up better and look nice.

Would I make these again? Maybe. My go-to oatmeal cookie recipe is my very favorite Oatmeal Chip Cookies. That recipe has more sugar and flour, and uses margarine instead of shortening. Plus they have chocolate chips and nuts. Hard to beat, even with these good Chewy Oatmeal Cookies.

 

 

1990s blog: Oatmeal Chip Cookies

oatmeal chip cookies – more sugar/shortening/flour, adds nuts and chocolate chips