PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Prospecting

Foothill gourmet: Cookies represent tradition and love

By From page B2 | December 10, 2012

Donna Brown

DONNA BROWN

Cookie recipes are featured in today’s column. My new cookie recipe, oatmeal craisin gems, reminds me of fall. I plan to use it often during the holiday season. It is a variation of chocolate chip cookies. I make the other cookie recipes, because significant people in my life have given me the recipes. These cookie recipes represent history, tradition and love.

I start with my earliest recipes.

Peanut candy tidbits — This recipe dates back to my high school years. On occasion, I had the good fortune to be part of another loving family. Since I had lost my grandmother and adopted their grandmother as mine, I assumed the recipe was hers. I was enchanted by this cookie as it has a crunchy exterior of peanuts, a sweet coating of frosting, and a soft center of cake. It’s a delicious tidbit that tastes reminiscent of a candy. Pure delight.

Begin with a sponge cake. A sponge cake, like an angel food cake, is leavened with air beaten into the eggs. Yet a sponge cake also includes the egg yolks. Check a basic cookbook for a recipe; it should be there. If not, let me know and I can feature a recipe for sponge cake in a future column. Cut the sponge cake into small squares about 1 inch. Coat the squares with butter cream frosting. Then roll the frosted squares into chopped peanuts. After you have frosted the cake and rolled it in the peanuts, the cookies become round. Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Mexican wedding cakes always graced my mother-in-law’s Christmas feast. Rich with butter and finished with powdered sugar, the cookie delicately melts in your mouth. About 15 years ago I took up her passion and started baking Mexican wedding cakes.

Ingredients: 1 pound butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, 4 cups flour, 1 cup finely chopped nuts and powdered sugar. Thoroughly cream together butter and sugar. Butter and sugar are well creamed when the sugar grains are completely incorporated. Then, add vanilla, almond extract, flour and nuts. Pinch about 1½ tablespoons dough and form into a ball. Roll each dough ball in powdered sugar and then place on a greased baking sheet. Leave them rounded or flatten them slightly with a spoon. Bake until lightly browned at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack. Makes approximately 5 to 6 dozen.

Oatmeal craisin gems — These cookies are filled with sweetness and many healthy ingredients.

Ingredients: 1 cup butter softened, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup light brown sugar packed, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3 cups cooking oats, either quick-cooking or old-fashioned, 1 6 ounce package craisins (dried sweetened cranberries), ½ cup chocolate chips, optional.
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars until well blended. Butter and sugar are well blended when the sugar grains are completely incorporated. Add eggs one at a time and blend well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat well to incorporate. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Then, add oats, craisins and chocolate chips (optional). Stir until mixed well. Drop by rounded teaspoons on to ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes and yields about 4 dozen.

Donna Brown

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