Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Dorcas Annette Walker
I always love it when there is snow on the ground for Christmas. Snow flurries floating down from the sky turns an ordinary day into magic while a dusting of snow produces a winter wonderland of enchantment. Holidays are great for trying out new recipes. My Snowball Cookies are brand new that evolved from experimenting with two different recipes. This Christmas I decided to ensure that I would have some snow. You can too by making up a batch of my Snowball Cookies.
Cookies are small sweet finger foods that are generally flour based. There are six basic kinds of chookies: bar, drop, brownies, cut outs, molded, sliced, and no bake. Cookies can be soft, chewy, or crisp. They can be big or small, plain or fancy. They can be simple or complex, but they started out long ago, not as a treat, but as an oven regulator. A small amount of cake batter was dropped onto baking pans to test the temperature of the oven before the cake was baked. Rather than ruin an entire cake, a "little cake", or cookie, was tested first. At the time, not one thought these "test cakes" would become a treat with charms of its own.
The earlist cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to Persia in the 7th century where bakers made luxurious cakes for the wealthy. The developing spice trade, cooking techniques, and ingredients of Arabia soon spread to Northern Euorpe. By the end of the 14th century, one could buy filled wafers on the streets of Paris. English and Dutch immigrants brought the cookie to America in the 1600's. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, most cookies were baked at home as speical treates because of the amount of labor and high cost of sugar. An explosion of cookie recipes took place in the early 1900's, parallelling the introduction of modern ovens with thermostats.
Cookie facts: Biscotti are really just "twice baked" cookies. Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year or 300 cookies for each person annually. Chocolate chip cookies are the msot popular kind of cookie in the United States; Massachusetts and Pennsylvania consider the chocolate chip cookie their official state cookie.
- Flouring a greased cookie sheet will yield thicker cookies.
- Do not mix cookies too much as it will make them tough.
- Too much flour and re-rolling results in tough, dry cookies.
- If your cookie dough is dry and crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Cookies may spread if the dough is too soft. Chill the dough or stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and be sure to cool and clean cookie sheets between batches.
- Parchment paper for cooking can replace greasing.
- A dark colored cookie sheet may result in over-baked cookies; always use a shinny aluminum cookie sheet.
- Most cookie dough freezes well up to three months.
1 c sugar
1 c shortening
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla and almond extract
3 c self-rising flour
1 c chopped pecans
blue sugar crystals
Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add milk and extracts. Stir in flour and chopped pecans. Take a teaspoon of dough and roll in blue sugar crystals. Bake for 10 minutes at 350º on a greased cookie sheet. While warm roll cookie in powdered sugar and let cool. This recipe makes 3 dozen Snowball Cookies.
Weekly Tip: Store crisp, thin cookies in a container or tin with a loose-fitting cover. Store unfrosted or frosted soft cookies in an airtight container to preserve moistness!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com