Friday, July 26, 2013

Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips                  

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/3 cup canola or other oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour – I use one cup of whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cocoa
2 cups white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, optional

Beat butter and oil until creamy; gradually add sugars, mixing well.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.  Combine flour with next four ingredients, and then add to the butter mixture.  Bake 350E for 12 minutes.

I made these cookies today.  For the cocoa I used some of the Valrhona 100% cacao.  This cocoa powder is said to be one of the best brands.  This is the first I have used the package we bought in Minneapolis this winter in cookies.  I wanted to know if we could tell the difference and if it was by chance worth the extra money. 

I think it is a bit different in taste from the other cocoas I have used.  It is certainly good.  I am not sure my taste buds can tell the difference.  I will buy the cocoa again but it is not a must to have product. 

Notice the large office clip used on the package. This is what our daughter-in-law uses.  They are so much sturdier than the ones in the kitchen section and work very well.  It was an idea worth coping.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I have one granddaughter to do 4-H projects with this year.  Hannah likes to try making products one can buy in the store.  We have done marshmallows, graham crackers, Tootsie Rolls and taco mix in previous years. This year we tried gold fish.  We made our own cookie cutter out of a pop can.  It did not turn out too bad.  We liked the gold fish.  I found a recipe in Cooking Light for a cookie baked in a pie pan. (Can I say I only ate one cookie today?) Hannah has the idea of putting them in a muffin pan as we suspect the cent will not be that done. Two good ideas for fair are under our belt.

We tried two variations of this recipe.  One had baking powder in it and the other did not.  I sent a bunch of the cookies home with Hannah so she could do a blind test with her family.  

Cheddar Fish
8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup flour
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cold water
Put all ingredients except water together in a food processor.  Pulse until the dough resembles coarse sand.  Pulse in water as it is added slowly.  Remove the dough from the processor and form into two balls.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. 
Roll out dough on a plastic baking sheet.  This way no additional flour is needed.  Roll to around 1/8 inches thick.  Use a cookie cutter cut into the desired shapes.  Hannah and I cut a pop can and bent into a fish shape.  We folded over one edge and then shaped the metal into a fish shape.  We taped the ends together with clear packing tape.  Our ends where on the flat side of the fish tail.  Next time we will do some measuring so the fish is better shaped.  We used a tooth pick to make eyes and smile on the fish.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown.  

 I found a recipe in Cooking Light for a cookie baked in a pie pan. (Can I say I only ate one cookie today?) Hannah has the idea of putting them in a muffin pan as we suspect the center will not be that done. Two good ideas for fair are under our belt.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Baskets

As a kid growing up we made and delivered May baskets to our friends and neighbors.  We girls would decorate the baskets and fill them with Caramel Popcorn.  Today I made May Baskets for the two little neighbor girls, Alice and Anna.  I admit I spent more time making the baskets than the Caramel Popcorn.  They were not too impressed with the baskets as they went right to work eating the treat.

I fill a 9 x 13 pan with popped corn with all old maids removed.  Then I make the caramel topping.

Caramel Popcorn

1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter

Cook in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until the sugar melts and the mixture turns a caramel color.  Pour over the popped corn and stir to mix.  This hardens quickly so one needs to stir right away.  This takes about 10 minutes of cooking time.  I like to stir often.

The basket would have looked better without the baggie.  This way I did not have to worry about losing any of the Caramel Popcorn and it made transportation much easier.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Most Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today my brother and his crew are here pumping the manure pits on our hog farm.  The guys usually pick lunch and dinner up at a local eatery.  When they are at our farm I take them a dinner that can be eaten on the go.  Tonight it will be pork burgers, chips, grapes and homemade cookies.  This is not a fancy meal.  It is certainly hard to be creative when taking a meal out to the field but it should be a notch above store bought dinner. 
This afternoon I am making my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie. They are a bit different that the ones you find on the back of a package of chips.  The recipe comes from an old family cookbook put together in the1980’s.  The copy I have is from the second printing of 1986.  One of the authors was a Home Economics teacher at Iowa State University.  She was a cousin to my husband’s father.  The Keiser Cookbook is a family cookbook of 54 pages of recipes with a bit of family memories added in the back.  As with most German families the recipes are common but good.  Some like the Cheese and Bacon sandwiches, prune pie, and cottage cheese are recipes I will most likely never try.  Almost all of the recipes sound good.  The ones I have tried have been deemed “keepers”.

Chocolate Chip Cookies                                     
From the files of Edna Gienger Pansegrau
½ cup butter
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup very hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts – optional

Cream the butter and oil together.  Add sugar and eggs.  Dissolve soda in hot water and mix alternately with the flour sifted with the salt.  Add vanilla.  Lastly add chocolate and nuts.  Drop by spoon on greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes in a 375 degree oven. 

I seldom sift my flour.  I usually add the water and flour mixtures in three batches each.  Also I usually use two cups of regular flour and one cup of whole wheat flour.  The only change I have made to the recipe is the butter and canola oil.  The original recipe calls for 1 cup butter or other shortening.