Sunday, November 18, 2007

Colder weather and it's time for some baking...

As soon as it starts to get cooler I start to think about baking. I am the official cookie baker of my family. Ever since I was really little my mom encouraged me to help her in the kitchen. I remember making oatmeal cookies one night when I was either in preschool or kindergarten for my "snack day" at school. Even if it was just pouring what she measured into the bowl or sliding the dough off the spoon or putting the sprinkles on top of the sugar cookies it was great to feel like I was really helping. It must have been these experiences that made me love to bake. As I grew up I sort of took over the cookie baking. When my little brothers were old enough to help I realized that it is a lot harder and takes a lot longer when you have little hands helping. It may take more work and more patience, but it really is about the experience: letting your children try something new, letting them experiment, letting them feel a part of the action, sharing the joy of cooking and making memories they will remember for a long time.

So, I am encouraging you to get out your mixing bowls and aprons and get a little messy in the kitchen. Sounds like fun to me.

Here are a few favorite recipes to try:

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
You will need:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cup oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips (divided)
3/4 cup nuts (I use pecans) (divided)

Combine flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. In a large bowl beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Beat in the egg. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of nuts. Spread mixture into a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Bake at 350' for 22-28 minutes. As soon as you remove from the oven, sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes and then spread. Makes 2 1/2 dozen bars.


You will need:
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Blend in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Shape the dough by teaspoon fulls into small balls. Mix the 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and the 2 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet and flatten with the bottom of a glass. Bake in a 400' oven for 8-10 minutes.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
You will need:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400'. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 min. Cool completely. Frost and decorate. (This is the fun part!)

If you have a favorite family cookie recipe I invite you to post it on your blog (if you have one) and send me the link. I will add any recipe links to the bottom of this post.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I've posted one on my blog, thefairymum. This is a family tradition - once a rolled and iced cookie, now made into a drop cookie for the impatient (me!). It's got a distinctive flavor we love, and a cakey texture that makes it unique!
(and here is the specific post: