Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


I grew up in a house where bread and cookies were homemade. Every week my mother would make homemade white bread and cookies for our lunches and dinners.  There were always cookies in the cookie jar. And believe it or not I would ask my mom if we could buy Oreos or Chips Ahoy almost every Saturday when we would go to the store.  But my mother would always say, ” Absolutely Not”.

One of my favorites  was my moms Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  They were so soft and chewy and I couldn’t get enough of them.  The only thing I have done to my mom’s recipe was add just a dash of fresh ground nutmeg.  I usually get 4 dozen cookies out of this recipe. I use my Pampered Chef medium scoop.

A plate of cookies and a glass of iced-cold milk. YUM!!

I have added one Variation and I know some of you will think it is crazy, but once you try it you will be hooked.  The add-in : BACON.  It makes it a breakfast-on -the- go cookie!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                               

Vonnie

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups oatmeal, old-fashioned, uncooked
  • 1   heaping cup raisins
Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, fresh ground nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.  In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla.   Add flour mixture a little at a time until fully combined.   Fold in oats and raisins, mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Variation:

6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled in chunks.  Add with the oats and raisins.

Carrot Cake Cookies


It’s time for a quick history lesson!

Did you know Carrot cake is often referred to as Passion cake?  The history of this sweet dessert can go back as far as Medieval Times. Carrots were used in sweet cakes since sweeteners were scarce and expensive. Here in the States following the end of WWII there was an over abundance of canned carrots. A business man named George C. Page hired master Bakers to find uses for the cans of carrots.  He promoted the idea of carrot cake after seeing a recipe on the side of the cans.  The cakes became very popular in the 1960’s in restaurants and cafeterias from coast to coast. Every establishment had the delectable dessert on their menu.

My family history of carrot cake is with my Grandma Taylor.  She was a wonderful baker. I loved spending time with her. The most amazing smells filled my Grandma’s kitchen and I loved sitting there watching her glide easily from counter to oven and back. She would make the most delicious baked goods and all from memory. I never remembered seeing her ever refer to a cookbook.  After her death I found a small spiral notebook with my Grandma’s hand written recipes.

Consider these cookies portable mini carrot cakes!  They are made with my Grandma’s recipe in mind.

Enjoy and Happy cooking,                        

Vonnie

 

Ingredients:

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups sugar

1 lb. butter

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 ½ tsp. ginger

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup raisins

4 cups rolled oats

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Directions:

Cream butter and sugars together until light brown.  Add eggs one at a time. Wait until each one is combined before adding the next. Mix in vanilla. Fold in carrots, raisins and oats.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large bowl. Slowly add mix to wet ingredients by fourths. Scrape after each addition.

Scoop by teaspoons (I use a small 1-tsp ice cream scooper to make the perfect size) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350° until golden.

Cool on rack.

While the cookies are baking and cooling, whip up the frosting.

Frosting

1 lb. cream cheese (softened)

1 lb. butter (softened)

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese until no lumps remain.

Slowly add vanilla and sifted powdered sugar.

After the cookies have cooled and the frosting is ready, assemble them by smearing some frosting on the bottom of one cookie and then sandwiching it closed with another.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Chocolate Mint Overload Cake


I love this time of year when the Girl Scouts will soon be delivering my much-anticipated order.  Of course I have several boxes of the Thin Mints!  I love to take them and add them to cake mixes and make my family and friends smile as they enjoy a delicious dessert that took me no time to make.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                         

Vonnie

1-18.25 oz. chocolate cake mix

1-3.9 oz.package chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup Girl Scout thin mint cookie crumbs

1-8 oz container sour cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

powdered sugar

Mix together the first eight ingredients in a large bowl until all are blended. Pour batter into a well-greased 12 cup Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish. Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies


Christmas Cookie Trivia and Fun Facts

  • Christmas cookies date back to Medieval Europe. Who knew? I certainly didn’t! But after looking into this I found out:

Modern Christmas Cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval Europe biscuits, which when many modern ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds and dried fruit were introduced into the west. By the 16th century Christmas biscuits had become popular across Europe, with lebkuchen being favoured in Germany and papparkakor in Sweden, while in Norway krumkake were popular.

  • Dutch and German settlers first introduced cookie cutters to America.  I have always had a fascination with cookie cutters! I think I can probably thank my Grandma Taylor for this! But did you know:

There is a National Cookie Cutter Museum in Joplin, Missouri?  The cookie cutter collection is cared for by the National Cookie Cutter Collectors Club which was organized in 1982 by four women, Phyllis Wetherill, Evelyn King, Lee Carey and Jill Tucker. 

  • German gingerbread (lebkuchen) was the first cookie/cake associated with Christmas. Growing up we had these cookies every Christmas and I always thought my mother made them. It wasn’t until I was married did find out my mom bought them at the grocery store and they were Archway Brand! I did find out:

The Lebkuchen is a traditional Christmas cookie, which is often enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. There are many regional variations to the Lebkuchen cookie, but the most well-known is the Nurnberger Lebkuchen from the city of Nurnberg!

  • Animal crackers began as edible ornaments.  Every year I used to get a box of these yummy cookies in my stocking!

Nabisco introduced Animal Crackers to the American public in 1902 as a seasonal item and its brightly colored boxes were promoted as Christmas tree ornaments (that’s what the string was for!)

  • The Wellesley Cookie Exchange, A most famous American cookie exchange, began in 1971 as a way to relieve holiday stress.

There are so many websites and blogs dedicated to Christmas cookie exchanges. Most are for a “girls night out” evening of fun!

Well, my thought behind all of this was Today is December 1st! And even though many of you have your Christmas Cookie Exchange Night all planned and invitations sent,  I thought I would share over the next few days cookie recipes of my favorite holiday cookies. The first one I chose is:  Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies. These are sure to be the hit of your exchange or dessert party. They are simple to make and taste like old-fashioned Holiday cookies from your childhood.  Santa will be very happy to see a plate laced with these delicious cookies on Christmas Eve!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking~                                                          

Vonnie

Ingredients:

Cranberry jam

12 oz fresh cranberries

1/2 c fresh orange juice

1/2 c water

5-6 T sugar

Sugar cookies

1 1/2 c sugar

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

1 t vanilla

1 egg

1/2 c shortening

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, combine cranberries, orange juice, water and 4 T sugar, over low heat. Cover and allow to cook, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, adding more sugar to desired sweetness. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens and most of the large cranberries pieces have dissolved. Cool in fridge.

Preheat oven to  375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in vanilla and egg. Add shortening, and combine well with a pastry blender or spoon. Place rounded teaspoons of dough on a greased cookie sheet (these should be small, making 32 cookies total—enough for two baking sheets). With your thumb, make an indent in each of the cookies, and add a teaspoon of cranberry jam.

Transfer to oven and bake 8-10 minutes, until edges begin to brown.  Cool on sheets for a couple of minutes and then transfer to cookie rack. Store in an air tight container.  Makes 32 cookies.