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!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cookie Recipe #281 - Quilt-Block Cookies

Needle and thread not required to make this old-fashioned-tasting cookie. The cherry filling compliments the soft, cinnamony exterior.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom OR 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 egg, 1/3 cup honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour (or use 2 cups all-purpose flour). Cherry Filling: 1 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup cherry-blend drink or apple juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Icing: 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 2-4 teaspoons milk.

Instructions: In a medium mixing bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar, soda, and cinnamon (cardamom). Beat in egg, honey, and vanilla. Add in all-purpose flour, then whole wheat flour. Combine well. Divide dough in half; cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Prepare Cherry Filling: In a small heavy saucepan combine cherries, apple juice, and lemon juice. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until cherries are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in granulated sugar. Cool slightly. Transfer mixture to a food processor bowl and process until a paste forms. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time into a 13x11-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry wheel (or sharp knife dipped in flour), trim to a 12 1/2x10-inch rectangle. Cut into twenty 2 1/2-inch squares. Place half of the squares 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread 1 teaspoon of the Cherry Filling over center of each square.

Using a 1-inch cutter, cut out and remove a shape from center of each of the remaining squares. Place a square with a cutout on top of each filled square; press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Make Icing: Combine sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to make of piping consistency. Using a decorator bag pipe lines around edges of each cookie to resemble quilt stitches. (Or fill resealable plastic bag with icing, clip a corner, and pipe design).

Makes 2 dozen edible quilt blocks.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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