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!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cookie Recipe #362 - Pink Meringue Clouds

Have leftover candy canes? Today's cookie makes good use of them, even if, and especially if, they are broken. Make the meringue first, then the cookie; throw them together, bake, and you have a minty cookie.

Ingredients: Peppermint Meringue: 2 egg whites (save yolks for cookies), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candy. Cookies: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, 2 unbeaten egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4-5 drops red food coloring, if desired.

Instructions: Prepare Meringue: Beat egg whites with salt until soft mounds form. Gradually add sugar; continue beating until meringue stands in stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in vanilla, vinegar, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy; set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar together, creaming well. Blend in egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and food coloring, if using. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and blend thoroughly.

Shape dough into balls using a rounded teaspoonful for each. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/4-inch thickness with fingers or bottom of glass covered with a damp cloth. Top each cookie with a rounded teaspoonful of Meringue.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

"Pillsbury's Best 11th Grand National Bake-Off Cookbook", presented by Mrs. Earlene Weber, Columbus, OH, 1959.

Cookies Rule!!!

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