Cookies

There is something Magical about Homemade Cookies!
I was at a recent buffet-style holiday dinner at which someone commented, “I can’t believe no one ate dessert!” And a friend insightfully observed, “None of them were homemade!”

Homemade Desserts demand to be explored, tasted, engaged with… The mind knows at the very sight of them that this could be some wild taste sensation that you have never experienced before! And may never experience again! And so, calories, schmalories! Ya’ GOTTA’!

Every now and again someone will ask me about my strange tardy behavior around Holiday Traditions — why it is usually mid January when my Baking gets done, and often mid-February when my Christmas Card gets published…

Besides, what are ya’ gonna’ do with all this Buttuh!?

Well, firstly, I do not consider it that strange. Life goes on as it does and around here preparations for the Holidays go on year round, mostly come mid-November in whatever pockets of time we can create for it… The two weeks on either side of Christmas Day are a non-stop festival of cooking and entertaining and houseguests and taking care of MOM… There is neither time nor space in the apartment to devote to baking cookies, setting trays out to cool, laying out boxes to pack and ship them, nor the mental space for the writing and rewriting and editing process of a Christmas Story… space for these

Whip Butter. Add Sugar…

things appears, as the tree comes down and things get a bit quieter at home. Of course, at that point we have the option to dismiss it all and say, “Well, Christmas is over now, anyway!”
But then we miss out! You don’t get to do these Wonderful things…
It’s all about Choices — what we choose to do with our brief allotment of time.
Besides, have we no desire to keep Christmas in our Hearts the whole year through? Let’s share those kindnesses!

You can substitute 1/2 cup Cacao for 1/2 cup flour in many recipes, and get a Chocolate Version of your Cookie.

Any time of year is a good time for Homemade Cookies!
And a Heartwarming Story can lift our spirits whenever we sit down to read it.

This year, I explored some new packing methods, as I have been told that my cookies sometimes — well, always — arrive somewhat crushed and in crumbs. This is not an uncommon experience. I researched several elaborate versions, such as each individual cookie wrapped in a bubble padded envelope. But I liked what this Lady had to offer:

Packing Peanuts (ReUsed)

Packing to ship, just as LAN suggested!

So I tried a version of this and I am told they arrived in good condition. They still didn’t fit into a flat rate box, but the cost was not prohibitive. And I don’t like to skimp — I like it ABBONDANZA , Just like MAMA taught me! I think there is something so Full Of Wonder about a Giant Box of Cookies arriving to a large group of people…
Cookies for Everyone!
Life is Good!

I tried a new Gluten Free Cookie this Year

Bakery-Style Flourless Fudge Cookies

I did what the recipe said to the best of my ability, even though when I read the recipe, it looked to my eye that the batter would be runny and not hold together. It was and it didn’t.

Batter seemed a little thin, and Yes, there is a Bird in the center of my whisk and it looks like a birdcage and I think it’s really Cute!

Onto the Cookie Sheet… Yup. Thin!

And… out of the oven!

Trying to get the “cookies” off the Parchment Paper

I could hear MAMA’s voice in my head, “How ya’ gonna’ give that to anybody?” immediately followed by thoughts of how she would go about fixing it.
Years ago, I tried to make a Jelly Roll Cake for MOM’s Sixtieth Birthday. I spent hours preparing the layer and a special confection for the cream filling. As I rolled it, the layer broke, as the filling was too heavy for the springy lightness of the cake, and it began to leak out. Quickly, my sister-in-law and I got it into a Beautiful glass trifle bowl and layered it, covering the top with fresh whipped cream and some chocolate shavings. It looked magnificent, and no one would have guessed that it was ever intended to be other than what it was. My then-seven-year-old nephew had observed the whole thing, and told his GrandMother the next day, “Uncle Arnie was going to make you a cake, but it backfired so he made pudding instead!”

Into the Paper Cups

The flavor of these gluten free bites was quite nice.

…And a light dusting of Powdered Sugar!

So I broke it up, put small pieces into festive mini-muffin papers, and sprinkled the tops with powdered sugar, inventing “Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cups.”
You see, MAMA was born into the Great Depression in this Country. She raised me to never waste — “Waste not, Want not,” as the saying goes.
And they were quite tasty!
We can do this with pretty much anything in Life, by the way! Make something Good out of it!

I like to make double batches and store the remaining cookie dough in the freezer. Then it’s available for whipping up a quick batch of cookies at another time. This time, that required defrosting the freezer in the middle of Baking Day! Did I mention I have an old freezer and this has to be done by hand with pots of boiling water?

Status Interruptus

Totally Worth It!
Oh, and here’s another tip I learned from my Partner back while making Cookies in the TreeHouses (as Elves Do!): Roll the Cookie Dough into Balls, and freeze them in zipper lock bags. Then, when you are ready to bake, simply place them right onto the cookie sheet — no need to defrost and shape ‘em!

There is something about Homemade Cookies that can Heal and Bring Childlike JOY to a World so very much in need!
It’s not a virtual experience!
Whether you are the person making them or the person eating them, it is a sensual experience, involving all the senses
And also, Love.
I don’t know that there has ever been a homemade cookie made for any reason other than some kind of Love.

I baked up a batch of Cream Cheese Brownies, and they were Yummy! I looked at several recipes online and this one looked Really Good:
Cream Cheese Brownie Recipe
And it was!
I added a bit of orange zest into the Cream Cheese, because I had an orange on hand — and that is very much what Baking used to be — varying and improvising with what you have on hand, being Creative, melding flavors and trying new things… The Dark Chocolate and Orange flavor combination seemed like a good idea.
And it was!

I made my Triple Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut Signature Cookies, and the Brown Butter Dark Chocolate Toffee Cookies to which my friend ANGELA introduced me a couple of years ago — Recipe Link in This Post
I also tried a copycat recipe for the famous Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, I did what the recipe said — Cold Butter, Cake Flour, Corn Starch, 410 degree oven… They still flattened out, which meant they did not come out as fudgy and gooey as the recipe’s photo; though too fluffy, they were light and tasty… and Huge!

Levain Bakery Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I went back to one traditional favorite from years past.
Some folks know them as Eagle Brand Magic Cookie Bars.
They are also commonly called “HELLO DOLLIES.”
There are countless versions of this cookie all over the Internet, and each one has different volumes and proportions. I’ve no doubt, they are all delicious, and it is just a matter of if you prefer your cookies more buttery, crunchier, sweeter, or what have you…
My version comes from the Soap Opera Star, SANDRA SANTIAGO.
I met this Lovely Woman at a party at the home of my friend, LOUIS PADILLA, many years ago. She described the recipe without giving exact measurements.
Of course, with Baking, so much of it is by feel…
But she described it well and with Joy and Passion.
And they were Delicious!
Her innovation was using only half of the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and replacing the other half with Butterscotch Chips.
YUM!
I have made them that way ever since…

I use the original Eagle Brand Magic Cookie Bars Recipe, and vary it from there.
magic-cookie-bars
And don’t forget to replace half the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips with Butterscotch Chips.
In an age when Salted Caramel is so popular… well, we used to call it Butterscotch.

Top with the Butterscotch Chips

Add the Chocolate Chips

Add the Coconut

Add the Nuts

Press Down

Bake

Nothing like a fresh batch of homemade cookies to brighten a Winter’s Day!
Nothing like the fragrance of fresh-baked Cookies wafting through the home…
If you haven’t baked in awhile, or even if you have never baked, it is a skill I encourage us all to develop, for it makes a better World!
Enjoy!

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Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. andreawd2014

     /  January 16, 2020

    So true

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  2. Cathy M.

     /  January 17, 2020

    YUM!!! Ok, now I’m really hungry!!! Thanks for sharing. Everything looks absolutely delicious.

    Reply

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