Raspberry Short Bread Cookies

Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming, and I cannot wait. I know they are a little ways off, and Halloween has yet to pass. Still the excitement of the holidays and all the goodies involved with each are enough to get your mouth salivating for the future. Halloween has its candy and cookies. Thanksgiving has its turkey and pumpkin pie, and Christmas could mean many things.

Raspberry Short Bread Cookies are a treat I always equate with the holidays. Do you remember the little holiday cans filled with small tasty cookies? These are the cookies that I think about when I reminiscence about Short Bread. Remembering and celebrating good times with family and friends is what the holidays are all about.

Raspberry Short Bread Cookies are really not that difficult to make. After I got past the initial shock of the unconventional cookie dough, they turned out to be wonderful little additions to my friend’s birthday tea party that I mentioned last week. After mixing the main ingredients together, I saw that the dough looked like a graham cracker pie crust, except flaky. I started to think that something had gone wrong. I expected a more adhesive dough. The recipe says to mix until light and fluffy, but flaky seems to be a better description. Upon rolling the dough, it becomes more adhesive, and the expected cookie shape begins to form.

Cut them into strips as the recipe states, and you are well on your way. To create a crease for the jam to set into, I used my thumb and made a little valley. The recipe says to use a wooden spoon end, but mine was built differently. A clean dowel rod might work as well, if you have a big enough one available.

So remember, “The holidays are fast approaching. Be prepared with a new, fresh baked holiday treat.”

Check out the recipe here: Raspberry Short Bread Cookies

Photos are the Property of "The Cooking Carpenter" Copyright ©2012

Orange Cranberry Scones

Orange Cranberry SconesScones are just not something I thought that I would really enjoy. My only experience with them has been at the local Starbucks, and I just assumed that they were supposed to be hard and stale. Not that Starbucks Scones are like that, but I had one, and it was not a very memorable experience. So I stick with my Lemon Loaf, Banana Nut Bread, or an occasional Cheese Danish at Starbucks. However, I have now experienced what a fresh, beautifully baked scone is supposed to taste like.

Recently, a friend of mine had a milestone birthday. (I can’t very well tell her age now, can I?) Her husband, my wife, and I decided to throw her an old-fashioned Tea Party. We thought that it would be an elegant way to celebrate and have a delightful time with someone who loves tea and is elegant in her own way.

In searching for some treats for the party, I discovered Orange Cranberry Scones and Raspberry Shortbread Cookies (coming next week). And yes, they are as delightful as they sound. Maybe not “Harry and Sally” famous restaurant scene good (just think excitedly good), but extremely close.

These babies are easy to make, but you will need a food processor, a way to zest an orange, and an 8″ round cake pan. This gave me a chance to buy something that I have long wanted, expanding my abilities in the kitchen. After all, if you put a blade on a motor, it is as much a power tool as a skill saw or a miter saw might be! I can hear Tim Allen grunting now. I know Tim Allen and Tea Parties are a weird combination, but I still say MORE POWER!

Orange Cranberry Scones

Mixing everything together is just a one, two, three process that doesn’t take very long to accomplish.

Oddly, the recipe said something that I didn’t understand, “Don’t Over Mix!” What does that mean to someone who has never made this thing anyway? I guess that if you over mix the batter with the milk, the texture will not come out right, but don’t over think it. My batter was moist, but it still had some powdery areas. Once I pressed it into the Saran Wrap covered pan, the moisture blended with the remaining crumbling areas. As long as you follow the recipe, I think that you will be fine either way. Experiment a little, and enjoy a delightful treat.

We made them the night before, and some the day of the party. They kept very good (in an air tight, sealed container) for a few days even after the party. Of course, they didn’t last long enough for them to even think of going bad!

So remember to, “Rethink your scone. Bake it at home.”

Check out the recipe below, and I will post the Shortbread Cookies next week.

Orange Cranberry Scones

Photos are the Property of "The Cooking Carpenter" Copyright ©2012

One Sweet Date Night

“Oh, I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, Deedly Dee! There they are all standing in a row.” OK maybe you won’t get this one unless you have children or are one, and I guess I am probably the latter of the two. Both Zazu and Rafiki sing this song from “The Lion King,” and it gets stuck in my head almost every time that I think of coconuts.

Movies are a great part of what I enjoy, including “The Lion King”, but it seems that sometimes it is the easy date choice. Every Friday for probably the last ten years, my wife and I have tried to make it a priority to have a standard date night. Sometimes they get routine by just going to a movie and having dinner. Not much conversation and interaction are involved when going to a movie, and I have been trying to think of more creative ways of enjoying time with my wife.

This last Friday for our date night we decided to make cookies for some of our friends and just spend some quality time together. We made Coconut Butter Cookies (this is where the coconut comes in) and Peanut Butter Cookies. It really didn’t take long to make the dough, then we realized that we had to refrigerate them for three hours. The Peanut Butter Cookies we could have made right away, but I like a chewy cookie. The recipe said, “for a chewy cookie refrigerate for 3 hours.” I decided to let them stand overnight, and we enjoyed the rest of the night together.

Both cookies are excellent recipes and are very easy to make. Do not let the wordiness of the one overwhelm you. It is an excellent recipe. We mixed each ingredient individually to get an even mixture and enjoyed the cleanup afterwards. After all you get to taste the cookie dough off of the bowl and spoon. It was fun, and we enjoyed being able to hand out the cookies to our friends.

So remember, “Have a sweet date night, and cook up something together.”

Recipes can be found Here:
Coconut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

What Makes a Cowboy Cookie?

OK, so I have been on this Cookie Kick for a little while now. I am sure that the calories are going to make me look as round as they are, but I have been enjoying baking and eating them way too much if you ask me! My latest experiment is the “TEXAS COWBOY COOKIE,” and they are wonderful.

I am not sure as to what makes a “Cowboy Cookie” though, let alone a Texas one. I am guessing it has to do with a comment made in the recipe. It states, “Makes 24 Texas sized cookies or 36 Yankee cookies.” Yes I guess everything really is bigger in Texas, even our cookies. These cookies are also very hardy and will fill you up pretty easily. They are everything that you would want a cookie to be.

Be careful when you make them though. The recommended recipe, is enough for a large posse. You might want to cut the recipe in half for just the family to enjoy. You can adjust the recipe a little through the Bigoven website. I have enjoyed having them around though – with the emphasis on the “round”.

Even though I am from Texas, these cookies are as cowboy as I get. In other words, just call me a city boy! I do love a hardy cookie though; especially one with pecans, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, cinnamon, oatmeal, and a whole lot of flavor. The cinnamon really enhanced the flavor, inspiring a miriad of comments from friends and family.

Check out the recipe. They are easy! They are filling! They are wonderful! Remember, “The size of a cookie can bring a whole new meaning to the term round-up.”

Click here for Recipe!

UMMM! Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie BarsMost cookies could be considered magic – in my opinion anyway. Yes these wonderfully delectable pieces of heaven have captivated children “SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME.” Well I cannot say that for sure, but every child I have ever known would eat them until their stomachs hurt if they were allowed.

Magic Cookie Bars are no exception. They are made of graham crackers, butter, Eagle Brand condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and walnuts. They also have the variation of adding butterscotch chips, raisins, or cranraisins.

However, I have never seen this recipe with Peanut Butter Chips, and I cannot understand why. They add so much to the recipe, and I don’t always get into the butterscotch chips, raisins, or cranraisins. If you use approximately the same amount of total chips that the recipe calls for, in varying amounts of each flavor, then I think that these peanut butter chips are great additions to the recipe. Most of the people who ate them said that they prefered, and even really loved, the ones with the peanut butter chips in them. I highly recommend this variation!

A word of caution: the Recipe from the Eagle Brand Website, states to use parchment paper to make it easy to remove the cookies from the pan. This would have been great, but I came across two problems. First I immediately tryed to remove them from the parchment paper, and they were still too moist. This caused them to want to bend, so I left them in the pan for a while longer. After a bit of time, they did stiffen, but then they stuck to the parchment paper. This was an unexpected outcome that I think the condensed milk influenced.

It was not fun trimming paper off the sides of the cookie, but the bottoms slipped right off the paper. Unfortunately, with trimming the paper off the sides, I had to throw some of the cookies away too. That is like Cookie abuse. Oh well, at least I learned something from it. Parchment paper may be a good idea, but I will seek out a better way to do this. Stay posted!

So remember, “Trimming down, is a sticky situation.”

Almond Lace Cookies

20120225-094026.jpgWell, this week has been a little hectic. Not only were we having problems with the computer, but we have been learning about Foster Care through DePelchin Children’s Center as well. My wife and I are trying to do foster care to adopt for a sibling group of two. We hope to do it later this year. I never knew how much information was involved with a situation like this. These children have lived through some real horror stories. So publishing this on Wednesday/Thursday like I hope to do for future posts was a little more difficult this week, but I Digress.

Almond Lace Cookies are wonderful little treats and easy to make. The recipe said that it would make 72 cookies. I don’t know what size cookies that they like, but this is Texas. Everything in Texas is bigger, and so were my cookies. Let’s just say we only had about 30 cookies when it was all said and done. I basically only did a spoon full when I placed them on the cookie sheets, but this made larger than normal cookies. Even though this is Texas and we want big things, I recommend going a little smaller. Theywill be easier to eat (it’s a fairly brittle cookie) and bake.

If you like almonds, you will probably really love these. The crushed almonds are accentuated with the almond extract which brings out the flavor even more. Everyone that had them really enjoyed them, and they didn’t last very long in our house. After all, there were only 30 cookies.

As for the chocolate, I do not recommend putting it into a Ziploc bag and placing it in the Microwave for a minute. This creates a Texas size mess to clean up. As I was pulling the bag out of the Microwave, only the bag came out. The chocolate stayed right where it was with some of theplastic. After I cleaned the mushy soft chocolate, I decided to try it a little differently.

My wife suggested that I put the Hershey’s dark chocolate bar in a Ziploc bag and place it in boiling water. Well, my wife is one smart cookie. It only took a few seconds to watch the chocolate melt in the bag, and it was very easily managed from this point on. Pulling the bag out of the (caution) boiling water, I snipped a small corner off of the bag, and it was easy to drizzle the chocolate onto the cookies.

This recipe is easy to make and worth the time if you want to treat your little ones. Hopefully we will soon be able to do the same as well. Remember, “Just like the chocolate, don’t leave any child behind.”

For the Recipe: Almond Lace Cookies