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!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cookie Recipe #88 - Streusel Strawberry Bars

The texture of these bars seemed a little dry. If I made them again I would try to chop up a few fresh strawberries and add them to the dough. I did top them off with a simple glaze for moistness and sweetness.

Ingredients: 1 cup butter, softened*, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, 1 jar (10 ounces) strawberry or raspberry preserves.
*Note: I think the butter should be cold rather than softened to make a better crumb mixture; mine ended up more like a dough because the butter was soft.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and sugar in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well blended. Add egg and flour. Beat until mixture is crumbly, 2-3 minutes. Stir in pecans. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture; press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 9-inch square baking pan. Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of edge of crust. Crumble reserved crumb mixture over preserves. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Optional glaze: Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, and 2 tablespoons milk in small bowl until blended and no lumps remain. If too thick, add a little more milk. Drizzle over cooled bars.

Makes 24 bars.

"Treasury of Holiday Cookies" published by Publications International, LTD, Lincolnwood, IL, in 1994.

Cookies Rule!!!

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