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!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cookie Recipe #359 - Custard-Filled Cookies

Make the custard first in this recipe and let it chill while you make the cookies. Spread on top, sprinkle with cinnamon, confectioners' sugar or cocoa and viola! it's a cookie!

Ingredients: Custard: 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, one 1/2-inch piece vanilla beat split lengthwise OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 large egg yolks, room temperature.
Cookies: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Topping: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, OR 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar OR 1 teaspoon cocoa powder.

Instructions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat condensed milk with vanilla bean or vanilla extract until small bubbles form on surface.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks. Add the tempered egg yolks to the milk mixture in the saucepan. Stirring constantly with a metal spoon or whisk, cook for 5 minutes or until custard heavily coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let the custard boil.

Strain custard through a sieve. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Cookies: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix butter and sugar in medium bowl; add egg and cream and mix until thoroughly blended. Scrape sides of bowl. Add the flour and blend on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets 1 inch apart. With your thumb or the back of a small spoon, form a small depression in center of each ball.

Bake 15-17 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown. Transfer cookies to cool, flat surface. When cookies cool to room temperature, spoon or pipe in 1 1/2 teaspoons of chilled thickened custard. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, confectioners' sugar or cocoa, if desired.

Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen cookies.

"Mrs. Fields Cookie Book", Time-Life Books Inc., Alexandria, VA, 1992.

Cookies Rule!!!

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