52 Weeks of Cookies~Easter Story Cookies

3 04 2010

Begin on Easter Saturday.

Preheat oven to 300*F

Place 1 cup whole pecans in a zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19: 1-3.

1 teaspoon vinegar:
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30

3 egg whites:
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10: 10-11

pinch salt:
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23: 27

1 cup sugar:
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat egg whites with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1: 18 and John 3: 1-3.

Use the wooden spoon to fold in the broken nuts.

Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.
Read Matt. 27: 57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of duct tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27: 65-66.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16: 20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9


(This recipe is by Wanda Long and appeared in Home Life magazine.)


52 Weeks of Cookies~Buttery Lemon Bars (Take 1)

19 01 2010

This recipe will come around again because there are some structural flaws in it.  They can only get better, and they’re pretty darn good to start with.  The crust is a very delicate, buttery shortbread that crumbles if you breathe on it, it’s so tender.  It’s also extremely susceptible to the heat, and knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t bake it in a pan I couldn’t see through.  Since it bakes twice you don’t want it to color the first time except perhaps barely.  Second…since it doesn’t specify salted or unsalted butter…I used unsalted and added salt to the dough…maybe it needed just a wee bit more.  Yet there’s no salt in the recipe.  I also put a bit of salt into the lemon filling, which could still have been more lemony to me.  So the recipe is a good place to start, but I’m going to play with it some, and we’ll be back with it when it’s been renovated some.

Buttery Lemon Squares

Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Notes: The lemon squares can be chilled airtight for up to 2 days.

Yield: Makes 24 bars

* 1  cup  (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
* 1/2  cup  plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
* 2 1/3  cups  all-purpose flour
* 2  cups  granulated sugar
* 1  teaspoon  baking powder
* 1 1/2  teaspoons  grated lemon peel
* 6  tablespoons  lemon juice
* 4  large eggs


1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 cups flour until dough is no longer crumbly. Pat into a ball.

2. Press dough evenly into a buttered and floured 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven until golden, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, or in a bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, whirl or beat granulated sugar, remaining 1/3 cup flour, baking powder, grated lemon peel, lemon juice, and eggs to blend. Pour onto hot crust.

4. Bake until lemon mixture is no longer runny in the center (cut to test), 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

5. Let cool completely in pan, then cut into 24 bars.

Tasting Notes:
These bars tasted fine, with the following exceptions:
•  They over bake very easily, and I feel the temp is too high in the recipe, try 325°
•  Bake in a clear glass baking pan to be able to monitor the darkness of the crust on the bottom
•  And as we already noted there’s no specification of salted or unsalted butter, or salt in the crust.

Needless to say, I over baked these little gems.  They handled it well, and tasted fine regardless, but they were still over cooked.  Since I know we’re going to run this play again…sorry…it’s football season…I’ll be increasing the lemon juice to 1/2 cup, and the lemon peel to 1 Tbsp.   Those adjustments aren’t enough to keep it from gelling.  With that many eggs, you could easily add quite a bit more lemon!  I think the lemon curd will cook up nicer at a lower temp also.  So…watch this space.  These will be back in the not too terribly distrant future.  They were tasty and rich, oh my, but they’re rich!  LOL!

52 Weeks of Cookies~Vera’s Peanut Butter Cookies

12 01 2010

This week we’re checking out a most unusual peanut butter cookie recipe.  I forget where Vera R. told me the recipe originated, but she spoke extremely highly of the results, and said it was such a simple recipe even she couldn’t mess it up.  I usually chide someone about that time, but Vera has made it plain that one passion we don’t share is Culinary Arts!  Ok.  That being said, these ARE the easiest cookies EVER.  I can’t imagine it being any easier.

The recipe is 1 cup peanut butter mixed with 1 cup sugar, blended with 1 egg. Roll into balls.  Bake on a lined baking sheet at 325° for 12-15 minutes.   I don’t know how many cookies you’re supposed to get, I used a size 40 scoop and got 25 cookies, and I ate absolutely NO cookie dough.  I’m immune to cookie dough.   And yes, there’s a story there, but not for today.  Today is about peanut butter cookies…rich, peanutty, peanut butter cookies.  I realized when I got home with the peanut butter that it was crunchy…oh well.  It worked anyway.

I don’t know that I’m ready to toss my old favorite criss-crossed, sugar crusted slightly crunchy peanut butter cookies for these.  These are definitely softer, and more full-flavored.  I’ll try flattening and criss-crossing them at some point,  just to see how they come out.  I’m thinking they might need slightly less cooking time because they won’t be as thick.   These also might be really great candidates as bases for jam thumbprints.

Tasting Notes:
We really enjoyed these, but they’re super rich.  Therefore they lasted longer! LOL!  You don’t tend to want more than one or two at a time.  They aren’t super sweet…even though it’s just peanut butter and sugar.  The peanut butter takes on all that sugar just fine.  Think about how much jelly or honey we quaff down with peanut butter!  One interesting thing…these go fairly well with fruit drinks.  Again, the richness and the peanut butter help out a lot there.  I wonder…would this cookie survive the Summer Kool-Ade test??

New Project~ 52 Weeks of Cookies

9 01 2010

While I was home for Winter Break, we discovered there’s a sweet-tooth in the house!  Well…we always knew there was at least one!  Bruce is a midnight muncher of sweet things.  Both of us are seeing the incredibly high price of commercial candies all of a sudden…oh, that’s right…high fructose corn syrup.  That, and the fact that most candy contains absolutely NO nutrition…and it motivates 1 cook-happy wife to bake again.  It must be time to think about cookies.  I made one batch over vacation…one that I searched high and low for…and they vanished so quickly that we decided that it might just be fun to do a different batch of cookies every week for a year.  Now…I expect this may get totally shoved aside during the summer.  We’ll have to see how things work out.   But for now…while it’s wet, and dreary, nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven!!

Our first cookie of the year comes from our friend Janice in Texas…Snickerdoodles!!  I love snickerdoodles.  I have a couple recipes, so they will be repeated for comparison.  These came out wonderfully…and I made them probably bigger than they should have been, but I used my cookie scoop, which is pretty standard for me.   I don’t have her permission to publish her recipe yet, but I can tell you it’s close to the standard that’s out there.  Most of the on-line recipes are the same with a slight variation here or there.

Tasting Notes:
These were voted easy eaters by my foodie co-hort.  He’d like to see what would mix in with them.  Hmmm…  Variations on a Snicker-Doodle…  Reminds me of a book of poetry I once had… Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle…  Truly, these were soft, full of flavor, and really easy to eat.  They didn’t make it a week.  With recipes like these, I won’t have to worry about the summer months.