Monday, November 28, 2011

List of Cookies that I have Baked to date.

Here is a list of all the cookies that I have baked so far.
I have baked 32 different recipes as of this November 28, 2011

Gaity Pastel Cookies
Honey Carrot Cookies
Lemon Cookies

Monster Cookies
Oatmeal Cookies

Brian's Buffalo Cookies
Peanut Chip Cookies

Honey Ginger Snaps
Peanut Butter Crunchies

Island Cookies
Honey Chocolate Chippers
Chocolate-Coconut Toffee Delights

Almond Double Chips
Marbled Mocha Drops

Spice Raisin Drops
Pudding Drops

Double Lemon Delights-Cathy Davies Guest Baker

Sofy Spicy Molasses Cookies

Peanut Butter Surprise
Hershey Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gingerbread Apple Bars
Lemon-Cranberry Bars

Brownie Candy Cups

Blonde Brickle Brownies
Pecan Pie Bars
Double Fudge Brownie Bars
Give Thanks Cornucopias-Elizabeth and Kathryn Koeck Guest Bakers

Minty Shortbread Squares-Kathryn Koeck Guest Baker

Lip-Smacking Lemon Cookies
Mini Chip Slice and Bake Cookies
Lemony Butter Cookies

Catching Up on My Cookie Blog

Wow, I didn't realize how long it has been since I have had the opportunity to write on my cookie baking blog.  I've been baking cookies but I haven't been blogging about my baking.  So, today is the day for me to do some major catching up.  I do have to say how interesting it is that even though I am retired my days seem to fly by so quickly and how busy I seem to be. 
The last time I blogged I had just invited my sister Cathy to be my guest baker when she came for her visit from California.  She was delighted that I asked her to be my guest.  So, on Friday, October 14th, I met her for breakfast at the Ramada in downtown Fond du Lac. My brothers Jim and Joe took time from their busy schedules and joined us along with my sister Ann, and sister-in law Barb.  After a nice breakfast Cathy and I went shopping and then returned home to Winneconne and started our baking.  I told her that she could pick out the recipe that she wanted to make with me and after a few minutes she decided on the Double Lemon Delights (p. 26).  The batter was very easy to make and as you know, anything with lemon in makes your home smell fresh and wonderful.  These cookies not only had lemon in the batter but they also had a very light lemon frosting recipe for on top of them.  They were very good cookies but I think the best part of making them was being able to share making them with my sister whom I do not get to see very often.  It was nice baking, talking, and laughing together.  My husband chuck came home as Cathy was making the frosting so he of course wanted to help and also be a guest baker.  I think he also talked Cathy into adding a little extra lemon to the frosting.  He likes to always add just a little extra to almost everything he cooks or bakes.  It was funny hearing Cathy and Chuck discuss just how much a "little"extra is.  My daughter Margaret told me that the lemon cookies were one of her favorutes so far.

On Sunday, October 16th, we had a gathering at our home for family and friends that we called a "Celebration of Accomplishments".  I chose that date because that way Cathy could join us since she was home.  The things we celebrated were:  My retirement from teaching,  our daughter Margaret's graduation from Marquette University, and our 30th wedding anniversary (it was actually in June).  At the celebration my daughter Elizabeth took a sample of each of the cookies that I had made and turned it into a guessing game of "Name that Cookie".  It was actually quite funny to watch people try to match the name of the cookie with the cookie without tasting it.  I think she had about 9 different cookies to match with names.  Elizabeth also made up small cards to take along with my cookie blog address so that our guests could follow my blog.  She is just a very creative thinking young lady.

October 25th was the next time that I had an opportunity to bake. I made the Soft Spicy Molasses Cookies (p.77).  These cookies had a very heavy molasses and spice taste to them.  I liked them and they went great with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.  I think people either like molasses or they don't.  I also think it is an acquired taste...not too popular with younger kids.  Chuck and I continue to have discussions about which mixer to use when making the batter.  I like to use my hand mixer and he likes to use his big heavy-duty Kitchen-Aide mixer.  He commented one day out of the blue.."using the hand mixer makes them delicate pastries, while using the mixmaster makes them into real cookies."  Such a sense of humor.  My kids all laughed when I told them about his comment.

On November 3rd I baked Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies (p28) and Hershey Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (p52).  The peanut butter surprise cookies had corn flakes, coconut, and also peanuts in them.  They were very crunchy and a favorite of neighbor Bob.  All my kids liked the mint chocolate chip cookies.  They all called me a commented about how good they were and that I should mark that recipe as a keeper.

The cookie recipe book also contains recipes for cookie bars so on November 12th I baked Gingerbread Apple Bars (p.110) (because I needed to use up some apple sauce that was in the refrigerator), and Lemon-Cranberry Bars (p.100).   I decided to bake these 2 bars because all 4 of my children were coming to home to celebrate my birthday that day and it would be easier for them to take the bars back to school/home with them.  Bars don't always pack up as neatly as cookies.  Both recipes made the house smell very good with the aromas of the season of fall.  I like to have those types of aromas in my home when my childlen come home because it helps to make the house a home of warm comforts.  I remember way back when my oldest daughter Elizabeth was in 4th grade and she came home from school  on a day when I needed to take a day off for some reason.  I had just finished baking some cookies and she walked into the house and said, "So this is what a stay-at-home mom's house smells like".  We both laughed at her comment, but I knew exactly were she was coming from because my mom was a stay-at- home mom and I still remember those wounderful smells of whatever she was baking when I would walk in the house after a long day at school.  I think I get my love of baking from my mom.

I made 4 different recipes from my cookie book for our Thanksgiving dinner at my sister Jane's home in Appleton.  I made Brownie Candy Cups (p.158),  Blonde Brickle Brownies (p.180), Pecan Pie Bars
(p. 112), and Double Fudge Brownie Bars (p.147).  I wanted a good variety of cookies/bars to take along so that everyone could enjoy something that they liked.  I did my baking on the morning of Tuesday, Novemebr 11th.  That afternoon our plumber who built our home came to repair my kitchen faucet that wasn't working correctly.  He obviously noticed all my bakery and I told him about my decision to bake every cookie recipe in the cookbook and that he would be taking with him a tray full of freashly baked bars and cookies when he left.  He shared with me that his wife also loved to bake and cook and how good his house would smell when he got home and how she too would take baked goods and meals to neighbors and how much she loved doing that.  I think I will add him to my list for cookie packages because I know that it has just been a year since his wife passed away. 
As for the Thanksgiving desserts, I would say that the Brownie Candy Cups and the Pecan Pie Bars seemed to be the overwhelming favorites of my family members. 
I also had a guest baker for another Thanksgiving cookie treat.  My oldest daughter Elizabeth needed something to take along to work for their noon luncheon Thanksgiving banquet.  She found Give Thanks Cornucopias (p.490) that we made together with the help of my youngest daughter Kathryn who was home from Marquette University.  They were very easy to make because they were made out of ice cream cones and chocolate, and then filled with candy pumpkins and candy corn.  They were very easy and fun to make.
The next day Kathryn was my guest baker again.  She picked out the recipe for Minty Shortbread Squares (p.102).  We messed up a bit on the amount of mint that we put in the batter.  It should have been 1 teaspoon for the batter and 1 teaspoon for the frosting.  We put both in the batter.  Oops, but they really tasted good anyway.  They too were a favorite at our Thanksgiving dinner.

I am now up to date with they types of cookies I have been baking.  This morning I mixed up the dough for Lip-Smaking Lemon Cookies, and Mini Chip Slice and Bake Cookies (both from p. 190), and Lemony Butter Cookies (p. 226).  All 3 recipes needed to be refrigerated for several hours before baking so I will bake them later this evening.  I have noticed how my cookie baking has become a family project.  I think my children really enjoy giving me feedback about which cookies they like and I know that some of them follow my blog because they remind me how far behind I am (was) with my blogging.  I'll have to let them know that I am now all caught up.  I also need to set a time to have my daughter Margaret and son Bill be my guest baker and i also have to invite some of my friends to be my guests. Baking cookies is just a very nice way to spend time talking and laughing with your children.  It's a good way to build memories and family traditions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching up on 3 cookie baking blogs.

I don't know where the time has gone as I find myself behind on 3 cookie baking adventures blogs.  So, I will try to catch up on what has been happening with my cookie baking adventures.  I've baked cookies on 3 seperate occassions since I last blogged and things have started to get very interesting regarding "guest bakers", special requests for cookies, and the taste-testing volunteers.  I will first fill you in on the types of cookies that I have baked and what has happened to them.  On Saturday morning, October 1st, I baked Island Cookies (p48), Honey Chocolate Chippers (p. 48), and Chocolate-Coconut Toffee Delights (p. 300).  My husband Chuck decided that he was going to be my guest chef for the baking.  He told me that with his help we could bake 3 different recipes and have them ready to give to our 4 children when we met them for lunch later that day.  I was reluctant to take on the challenge of baking 3 different types of cookies in such a short time span but I also knew that if I could keep Chuck on-task with his skill of beating batter quickly to a pulp with his favorite toy, the KitchenAid mixmaster, the job could be accomplished in a short amount of time.  We, I mean Chuck, did have a bit of a problem when I moved him from the mixer job to the job of roasting the usual he turned the burner on high flames and of course made the smoke detector start ringing...for several minutes.  Luckily though, none of the pecans were burned and they were roasted perfectly.  The cookies were all baked, packed up and ready to go by the time we left at noon.  My children suggested that I put the cookies in bags and label them so they can tell me the names of the ones they like of dislike.  I thought that was a good suggestion for a way to identify the cookies instead of saying..."you know, the one with the nuts...etc".  Of the three types of cookies that we made, the Honey Chocolate Chippers were not the best.  They seemed too heavy and cake-like.  I told Chuck they turned out that way because he beat the dough too much and the pecans were over toasted.  I don't think he believed me though. I'll have to come up with something better as an excuse for the next time the he is my guest chef.

The next date that I was able to bake was October 6th.  I feel like I have gotten behind in my cookie baking because I am getting quite a few calls to be a substitute teacher.  As you may recall from my first blog, I retire from a 35 year teaching career this past June and I told my children that my project to keep myself busy was to bake every single cookie recipe in my 575 page cookie recipe book. So, I try to bake on days when I don't have to sub.  Don't get me wrong, I really do like the subbing.  However, now when my children call they ask me what type of cookies I baked that day and when I tell them that I subbed they respond with..."Don't they know that you need to be baking cookies?"  I took off one day to go to the Little Farmer with my friend and my daughter Margaret told me that I could not be doing those fun things because I needed to be baking cookies. Because I give almost all the cookies away I am now getting request for particular types of cookies.  My response is..."I don't do request...I only bake what is in the book". Anyway, I baked Almond Double Chip (p. 49) and Marbled Mocha Drops (p. 54). I loved the smell of the almond extract as I put it in the batter and those cookies were fantastic.  They also had chopped up almonds and chololate chips in them.  The Marbled Mocha Drops were also very good.  They had just a slight hint of coffee taste as I bit into one.  It was a just the right mixture of chocolate and coffee.

The next time I baked cookies was on Sunday, October 9th.  I again had my husband Chuck as my guest chef.  He did tell me that he does not think that he should be a "guest" chef any more and that he wants a 50/50 split and ownership of my Great American Cookie Journey.  I do know that he does have an alterior motive for wanting a part of my journey...It is because he wants more cookies.  Just the day before as I was talking about the groceries that I needed to continue baking he commented..."Ya, I don't think this cookie baking idea was a good idea."  When I asked him why he responed..."I thought I would be getting to eat a lot more cookies".  I though he was going to say that it was costing too much money so I just had to laugh when he said that and told him that I was going to put it in my blog. As you know, I pack up almost all of the cookies that I bake and give them to our children who are grow or are in college, some to the neighbor man, some to our daughter's and son's track coach at Marquette University, and some to Nick, my daughter Kathryn's friend who attends UW-Whitewater.  Anyway, back to baking...I baked 2 differnt recipes on Sunday night while watching the Packer game and Chuck again was a guest chef for only one.  He helped with the Spice Raisin Drops (p 18).  Interestingly our daughter Kathryn was home from Marquette and she said that she too wanted to be a guest chef.  However, she thought that dumping just one cup of flour into the bowl constitutes helping...WRONG!!!  I even received a call from one of my other children today pleading with me to not put Kathyrn down on the blog as a guest cheff.  They said that just would not be right for all the other guest chefs waiting in the wings, I mean not home.  I agree.  The Spice Raisin Drops were very good.  Any time you have cookies with the smell of cinnamon, oatmeal, raisins, and nutmeg it brings about wonderful childhood memories of the smell of my mom's home when we would walk in after school.  Such a wonderful comfort food.  The other cookies that I baked without a guest chef was Pudding Drops (p 56).  They were interesting because they were made with a package of instand butterscotch pudding...hence the name.  They had chocolate chips and nuts in them but the dough was just too thick and cakelike in flavor.
I stopped at the store today to purchase the grocery items that I will need for my next cookie baking adventure day.  I will be subbing the next 3 days so I don't know if I will have enough energy at the end of the day to do any baking.  Also, the weather is extremely warm for this time of year so turning on the oven may not be the wisest thing to do.  My sister Cathy will be visiting from California starting on Wednesday through next week Tuesday.  She is coming home for the baptism of our great niece, Natalie. It is always nice to have Cathy back home.  I wish her children and husband John would have been able to come also but they are all in college or high school and have work obligations.  I would love it if Cathy would be my guest chef for a day.  I'll have to ask her.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Helper Tonight

I baked two more recipes from the Great American Cookie Cookbook tonight and I even had a "helper"with my baking.  The recipes I made were Honey Ginger Snaps from page 70 and Peanut Butter Crunchies from page 78.  I do have to say that I was impressed by the taste of both recipes.  Honey Ginger Snaps just seemed to melt in you mouth.  They did not have an overwhelming taste of ginger and the honey helped me to think that I was eating something healthy.  I would definately make that recipe again.  The Peanut Butter Crunchies had a bit of a surprise when you bit into it.  The recipe called for 2/3 cup of almond brickle chips.  It was just a nice surprise for the taste buds biting into those brickle chips.  As for my helper, he did a great job.  He knows how particular I am about following the recipe exactly and he didn't offer any "new" suggestions.  I think he was just happy that I let him in the kitchen.  Since I have been retired I have taken over all the baking and cooking responsibilities.  I know that he is sort of at a loss not doing a lot of the cooking.  It was good having him as a helper tonight.  I could tell that he was very happy that he could use his great big Kitchen Aid mixmaster and beat the crap out of the sugar, shortening and eggs. We were actually able to bake both recipes of cookies in about an hour.  It was fun working together...even though I did have to draw his attention to just how many cookies he was again taste-testing.  The next time I blog I've catch you up on the amounts of ingredients that I am using.  I am trying to keep track of just how much sugar, shortening, chips, etc. I will have to use to bake all the cookies in this book.  Looking forward to having my children taste theses two recipes.  I think they will like both of them.  I have a small box with samples all ready to take over by Bob in the morning.  Hopefully I am not annoying him with all these cookies.

Cookies for the Roofers

I have been baking cookies.  However, I have not had much time to blog about baking them so I will try to catch up now.  I did bake two more recipes from the Great American Cookie Cookbook.  My baking day was last Wednesday, September 21st.  The cookies I baked were Brian's Buffalo Cookies and Peanut Chip Cookies, both recipes on page 14.  It was a good day to bake because I had our contractor Vaughn and 3 of his crew here putting a new roof on our home.  A storm about 2 weeks ago did a good job of ripping off quite a few of the shingles and doing a bit of damage.  The reason it was a good day to bake was because of all the pounding and hammering that was going on....sure not an ideal afternoon to take a quiet nap.  I also knew that my 4 roofers would probably enjoy some fresh cookies for their afternoon break, and they did, fresh and warm right out of the oven.  Brian's Buffalo Cookies were delicious.  They contained chocolate chips, chopped pecans, flake coconut, oatmeal and corn flakes.  I found that to be an interesting combination of ingredients, but it worked to make a very delicious and crunchy cookie.  The Peanut Chip Cookies were really just peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips.  This recipe also had rolled oats in it.  It is interesting as I look through the other recipes in the cookbook to note just how many recipes use rolled oats.  I think I may need to mix it up a bit and make recipes that do not use rolled oats every time I bake.  I would suspect that otherwise all the cookies may begin to taste the same. Another reason why I decided to bake was that all 4 of my children were coming home for the weekend.  I wanted to make sure that I had a full container of cookies for them to take back to school/work with them.  It is interesting, I am starting to get more request for particular cookies.  I've had several request to make more of the Ginger Snaps from page 12.  I have explain to them that I don't do request and I don't go back and remake a recipe that I previously made...not until I am finished with the book.  My husband is doing a good job of watching for chocolate chips, sugar, flour, etc. to be on sale and he is keeping me well supplied for all my cookie baking adventures.  The only problem that I have is that when he is around when I am baking, he is doing way too much in the area of quality control and taste testing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

3 More Cookie Recipes Baked on a Cool September Saturday

The weather outside was cool and damp so I thought it would be a good day to continue with my cookie baking journey.  I baked Monster Cookies on page 10, Oatmeal and Gingersnaps both on page 12.  My home smelled so very good from the gingersnaps baking, and felt very warm from the heat given off by the oven.  I want to take few minutes to share a few observations about baking cookies when my husband is home.  He loves to make lots of suggestions about what bowl to use, which mixer to use, and how often he should be able to taste test the final project.  I did sugest to him that he could be my assistant, you know, get the ingredients and put them back away, however, he declined my offer. Thank goodness. I really don't need an assistant but I thought I would offer him the position anyway.  I sort of knew that he would not accept my offer since football was on TV.  My other observation is that I should probably do my baking when he is not home.  The freshly baked cookies seemed to be too big of a tempation for him so I threated him that if I saw him eat one more cookie I would write on my blog about how many he ate and then our 4 children could read about it on my blog and then they would ALL call and talk sternly to him about eating cookies.  That seemed to work, or should I say I think it worked.  I did take a basket of cookies across the road to our neighbor Bob and his friend Carol.  They sent me home with 2 pieces of a freshly baked warm raspberry pie.  It was delicious. I've decided to try to keep track of how much of each ingredient I will use throughout this whole process.  My husband commented to me that he would keep buying bags of flour and sugar every time he goes to the store.  He also asked me about some of the recipes that use a liquor, what I was going to do about that.  I told him that I would buy the liquor that  was needed for the cookies, use it, and then finish off the leftovers at a later date. He knew I was kidding.  I will have to figure that out when I get to those recipes.  I knew he would find a way to become a part of this adventure.  It actually has become a sort of family adventure already.  All I have to do is put on Facebook that I am baking cookies and I get many "likes" from family and friends and requests to send them cookies.  My daughter Kathryn actually screamed,"...I love those cookies" over the phone when I told her that I baked Monster Cookies.  My oldest daughter, Elizabeth, has volunteered to take pictures of the cookies so that I can post them on my blog.  I do have to say that they do look and taste might good.  I think tomorrow will be another good day for baking.  The Packer game is on so I know my "assistant" will be busy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cookies-A New Start

On June 9, 2011, I retired from a 35 year teaching career.  My 4 children asked me what I planned on doing now that I was retired.  In response to their question I pointed at a 575 page cookbook titled "The Great American Cookie Cookbook" and told them that I was going to bake every single cookie recipe in that book.  After we all had a good laugh they told me that it was a good idea, so here I am beginning the great cookie baking journey.  I began yesterday by baking the first 3 recipes from the book.  I put on Facebook what I was doing and 2 people commented that I start a cookie baking blog like the book Julie and Juliete.  I don't know that cookie baking will be anything too exciting for a blog but I thought I would try it.  Yesterday I baked Carrot Cookies, Lemon cookies, and Gaiety Pastel Cookies.  The carrot cookies had carrots and honey in them so I consider them a bit healthy.  The gaiety pastel cookies were made with Jello, and the lemon cookies had coconut in them.  I made 4 trays full of the variety of baked cookies and gave them to my 4 children and asked for their opinions of each type.  They approved of all of them.  Tomorrow I think I will make something with chocolate and nuts.  I hope all my neighbors, relatives, and friends like cookies.