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!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cookie Recipe #227 - Apricot Meringue Bars

Two baking steps to accomplish this bar, but fairly simple to make (and eat!).

Ingredients: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup butter, softened, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, large pinch of salt, 1 egg, separated, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/3 cup apricot jam (or preserves).

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease a 9 inch square pan. In medium mixing bowl, beat together the flour, butter, vanilla, salt, egg yolk and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar (I like to use my fingers to do this step). Spread the mixture in the base of the prepared baking pan; prick it several times with the tines of a fork and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, beat the egg white until stiff. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Gently fold in the chopped walnuts and pecans, but do not overmix.

Remove pan from oven, spread the apricot jam over the base, then spread the meringue mixture to cover it evenly.

Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the meringue is crisp and light brown. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars and indulging.

Makes 16 bars. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

"The Cookie and Biscuit Bible", Hermes House, Anness Publishing Ltd, London, 2010.

Cookies Rule!!!

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