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, December 12, 2010

Cookie Recipe #344 - Marshmallow Snowmen

These are almost too cute to eat (almost). Another kid-friendly recipe that requires no baking, just a little assembly.

Ingredients: 12 vanilla caramels, unwrapped (1/4 of a 14-ounce package), 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 10-ounce bag marshmallows (large), marshmallow creme (optional), pretzel sticks, 1 cup chopped nuts, toasted coconut, toffee pieces, and/or 1/3 cup nonpareils, 4 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate pieces, 2 teaspoons shortening, orange-colored miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate pieces or other tiny round candies (I used butterscotch chips; could use peanut butter ones).

Instructions: On small baking pan spread evenly 1 cup flaked coconut. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven about 10 minutes or until browned (stir halfway through); allow to cool.

Line a large baking sheet with foil; butter or spray the foil; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine caramels, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Heat and stir over medium-low heat unti mixture is melted and smooth.

Using kitchen scissors or sharp knife, cut 1/3 of the marshmallows in half crosswise (run knife or scissors under hot water to prevent sticking). Place each marshmallow half, sticky side down, on top of a whole marshmallow. Press together gently. If necessary, spread a small amount of marshmallow creme between the marshmallow pieces to hold them together. For arms, insert a pretzel stick into two opposite sides of each whole marshmallow.

Dip bottom third of each of the marshmallow stacks into melted caramel mixture. Allow excess to drip off. Place dipped marshmallows on prepared baking sheet.

Place nuts, coconut, toffee pieces, and/or nonpareils in separate small bowls. In another small saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Heat and stir chocolate mixture over low heat until melted and smooth.

Dip each caramel-coated marshmallow stack in melted chocolate, covering the bottom of stack with chocolate. Allow excess to drip off. Immediately dip into nuts, coconut, toffee bits and/or nonpareils. Return marshmallow stack to baking sheet. Let stand about 30 minutes or until chocolate sets.

Re-melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Place snowmen on their backs. To make eyes and buttons, dip one end of a remaining pretzel stick into melted chocolate and dab chocolate onto snowmen (I spread a little chocolate on bottoms of mini chocolate chips then placed on snowmen, pressing lightly). For a nose, dab some chocolate on one side of a small orange-colored candy and attach to snowmen. Let stand about 5 minutes or until dry.

Makes 26 snowmen.

To store: Layer snowmen between pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container, cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Cookies Rule!!!

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