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, January 2, 2011

Cookie Recipe #365 - Bacon Chocolate Chip

Day one began with my favorite - Chocolate Chip Cookies - so it's only fitting that this blog end with a variation of Recipe #1. Today's cookie has the simple addition of bacon (I knew I could find a reason to have cookies for breakfast!) Simply reduce the salt by half and add a few cooked and crumbled slices of bacon. It's surprising how good they are.

Ingredients: 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 pound of bacon (or more, depending on individual taste), cooked and crumbled.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter; add both sugars and continue beating until thoroughly mixed. Add in eggs and vanilla, mxing well. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour until thoroughly incorporated. By hand, stir in chocolate chips and bacon.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 11 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Allow to cool on baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring to wire racks.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Cookies Rule!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cookie Recipe #364 - Peanut Butter Pizza Cookies

These are similar to Cookie Recipe #351, but have a peanut butter cookie base with lots of goodies on top and are smaller in size (but not in calories).

Ingredients: Cookies: 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used chunky), 1/2 cup shortening, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 egg, 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda. "Pizza" sauce: 1 cup milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons shortening. "Pizza" topping: an assortment of: candy coated chocolate pieces, miniature marshmallows, assorted nuts, raisins, gummy bears, gumdrops, coconut, etc. Drizzle: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon shortening.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place foil on 2 baking sheets. Trace 2 7-inch circles on foil using a pan lid and a knife (pushing lightly). Spray foil with cooking spray; set aside.

For cookies, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Add egg and beat just until blended. Add flour, salt and baking soda to brown sugar mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each into a disk; place a disk in the middle of each circle and spread evenly to edge with hands.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-16 minutes or until set. Use the back of a spoon to flatten center and up to edge of each hot cookie to resemble pizza crust. Cool 5-8 miniutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies on foil to cool completely.

For pizza sauce, combine chocolate chips and shortening in large microwave-safe bowl. Micro for 2-4 minutes or until chips are shiny and soft. Stir until smooth. Spoon 1/4 of chocolate mixture into center of each pizza cookie. Spread to edge of depressed area. Sprinkle desired toppings over chocolate.

For drizzle, place white chocolate chips and shortening in heavy resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal. Micro for 1 minute; knead bag. Repeat until smooth. Cut pinpoint hole in corner of bag. Drizzle over cookies in random design.

Makes 4 7-inch cookie pizzas.

"Treasury of Holiday Cookies", Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, IL, 1994.

Cookies Rule!!!