We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cookie Recipe #76 - Bear Claws

Do you remember going into a bakery and ordering a "bear claw"? This is what today's recipe is, only in "cookie" form. A sweet cookie dough wraps around a tummy full of fruity jam and crunchy nuts.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, softened, 2 tablespoons shortening, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Instructions: Mix granulated sugar, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into a 12 inch square. Cut into 3 inch squares. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon jam down center of each square; sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon nuts over jam. Fold 1 edge of dough over filling; fold other edge over top. Place on prepared baking sheet. Make 4 or 5 slits in top of each cookie (vent holes); spread cuts slightly apart (until you can see the jam). Sprinkle each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar and pop into the oven.

Bake about 6 minutes, or until cookies are light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen claws.

"Betty Crocker's Cookie Book" published by Golden Press, New York, in 1981.

Cookies Rule!!!

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