Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tea Bread Tuesday: Cookies

Surely, at this time of year, it must be all right to take a detour from tea breads, and move into the realm of cookies, wouldn't you say?  I love cookies, but I don't enjoy baking them all that much.  I don't mind mixing the dough, but the baking process seems to take forever.  In and out of the oven with the cookie trays, the cooling racks . . . and they seem to me to be a bit persnickety with the oven temperature and the time in the oven.  They certainly aren't very forgiving if you become distracted . . . But, ahh . . . they are so wonderful! 

There's something magical about cookies, especially Christmas cookies . . .  So, instead of tea and bread, this week my husband and I enjoyed a fresh cup of coffee and a cookie plate, featuring Butterballs, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cranberry-Chocolate-Chip Biscotti made by my sister-in-law, Angela!

Angela is a wonderful cook.  Everything she's ever baked for us has been delicious, and I'm not just saying that so she'll read this and send us more biscotti (but if you want to, Angela, Lee loves the ones you made with pistachios).  She sent us the biscotti for Christmas and I hid it from the kids.  Am I a horrible mother?  See, the thing is that my kids do not have a very sophisticated palate and it seemed a waste to let them eat these scrumptious morsels, when they'd be just as happy with Oreos . . . and I did let them eat the homemade Chocolate Chip cookies, which is what they always ask for anyway . . .

For the Chocolate Chip cookies, I just followed the directions for Nestlé Toll House Cookies.  The Butterballs came from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  Here's the recipe for the Butterballs:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pecans, chopped moderately fine
¾ cup confectioner's sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.  Grease one or two cookie sheets.
  2. Cream butter.  Beat in honey; gradually mix in flour and salt, then vanilla.  Add pecans.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Form balls by hand, the size of quarters.  Place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven; as soon as cool enough to touch, roll in confectioner's sugar.  Allow to cool and roll again in sugar.
Yields about 36 cookies.

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FLASH UPDATE ON THE COMPUTER SPEAKER:  My son, John, is taking it with him back to school.  I'm glad that it's going to be put to use, but this can be such a horrible setback!  The last thing a pack-rat needs is to be emboldened by someone actually needing something they've picked up.  They can't wait to say:  "See?"  "I knew it was a good thing to bring home!"  It makes it ever so much more difficult to discourage them . . .


HeyLady said...

man those look good! I would go for the 'butterball' ones. I always go for whatever will make the biggest mess all over myself.

Bobbi said...

Butterballs sound divine! I am more of an eater than a baker myself :)

Anonymous said...

Those look yummy!!! I love to make cookies!

Gypsy Girl(Brenda) said...

Oh they look so yummy. I will take a chocolate chip now please. Thank you.

Stephanie said...

Mmm...cookies! They look yummy!

pakosta said...

oh man, I want to come over and have some!

Angela2932 said...

Maria, you are too kind! I am certainly going to try and time future visits to your house for a Tuesday! Hmmmm. . . . I'm going to have to figure out which pistachio biscotti recipe I made, because I keep changing my mind about which recipes I like the best, and then misplacing them. . . . But it doesn't surprise me that Lee likes the pistachio. Pistachios were always such a rare treat when we were growing up.

Maria, I just checked your post from yesterday and added a little rant of my own about my beloved but Olympian Pack Ratter.

Reds said...

Mmmm - looks so good - would be perfect with my coffee right now!!

Nicki said...

I am a cookie girl, I love making them despite the labor intensiveness as compared to cakes or breads. But hey, I love making those as well. If I get terribly lazy - I opt for bar cookies. BTW - no you are not a bad mom. Who of us has not hidden food from our kids. It originally started with placing it in plain view (well, for those over 4 feet) - and then as they grew taller, a little more discretely. I like to think of it as portion control management. And I use the Looney Tunes method of counting out portions as well: 1 for you, 2 for me; 1 for you, 3 for me.... In the long run I doing them a favor by consuming the calories. Their girly figures will thank me later. :)

Margaret said...

Love the shot of the cookies and they all sound so yummy, as well. Thanks for the computer speaker update. Glad it's found a home, but like you said, this is probably just going to enable the packrat in your house. :)

Barb said...

Angela sent us some biscotti and I agree they were awesome! I love making cookies. I usually make a batch and bake part of them, put the rest of the batter in the frig and bake them the next day. I don't have to spend as much time at once. In a Mrs. Field's cookie recipe book that I had years ago and can not find now she had a hint about baking cookies if you want softer cookies. That was to bake them slower at 300 degrees. I often do that with excellent results.