Cookie Exchange

A group of friends are planning a cookie exchange!  Yay!  I haven’t baked cookies in YEARS so get to dust off some favorite recipes.  Cookie recipes are addictive.  Each one I read makes me want to find the next one. And the next.  Then the next.  A collection?  Naw.  An OBSESSION!

But since I last baked cookies, I’ve read so many new recipes and have some ideas…with Food Network there are fascinating recipes for nibbles and cookies everywhere.  Hmm.  Savory nibbles along with the cookies!  A little salt added to the sugar rush, just what the dr ordered.  Spike your blood sugar and at the same time make your ankles swell from excess salt…LOL.  Moderation?  What?  with holiday goodies???

I love coconut macaroons and have an easy and delicious recipe that makes moist and flavorful cookies.  But at least one person doesn’t like coconut.  Nuts are out, too.  The coconut non-appreciator told me to go ahead and make them, that her family likes them.

Here is the recipe from the Miami Herald, from Linda Cicero’s column, Cook’s Corner.  Probably from about 1984-1985.  You can see why I want to make it…EASY PEASY

2 7-oz pckages flaked coconut (5 1/2 cups)

1 14 oz can sweetened concensed milk (fooey – aren’t they now 8 oz cans?  Conversion to come)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 and one-half teaspoons of almond extract

Mix ingredients together thoroughly in large bowl.  Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto aluminum foil-lined and generously greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges.  Immediately remove from baking sheets; the macaroons will stick if allowed to cool.  Store loosely covered at room temperature.  Makes about 48.

Conversion for 8 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk:

16 oz of flaked coconut (If I can multiply and divide with a calculator correctly, that works out to be about 6 and one quarter cups of coconut)

2 8 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk

same amount of extract although you could measure

2 and one quarter teaspoons vanilla extract

1 and three quarters teaspoons almond extract

and you might get 54 cookies!

I’m also thinking cheese straws.  I LOVE cheese straws.  When I was in college they had them for every “tea” or reception and there were NEVER any leftovers.  This was Georgia.  I always wanted the recipe, and this might be pretty close, from the book “Being Dead is No Excuse” an hilarious recounting of traditions and customs of the Deep South.  It is funny because it is SOOOOO true.

Cheese Straws
From “Being Dead is No Excuse”

4 c all purpose flour, measure before sifting
2 scant tsp salt
1 ½ tablespoons cayenne pepper
approx 4 sticks salted butter, melted
4 (10 oz) packages of extra sharp cheese, finely shredded
5 dashes Tabasco
5 dashes Worcestershire (Lea & Perrins)

Sift the flour, salt, and cayenne together.  Work the melted butter into the shredded cheese with your hands.  Use the amount of melted butter needed to produce a consistency appropriate to your cookie press.  Incorporate  the flour mixture a little at a time, still using your hands.  Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire to taste.  Fill the tube of the cookie press.  Using the ribbon disk produces a real bite, while the smaller disc produces the familiar squiggle.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx 12 mins, or until firm to the touch and slightly brown around the edges.  Squiggles take only about 10 mins.

Makes 10 dozen.

Another contender in the Cheese Straw race is Craig Clairborne.  I found this recipe on a website many years ago – probably during my WebTV days.  Ahh…those were the days – sitting in my easy chair surfing the net on the TV set.

Cheese Straws
Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking
Wings Books

*8 tablespoons butter
*1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese — or blue cheese
*1 3/4 cups flour
*salt — to taste
*1/2 cayenne pepper — more or less
*1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Put the butter and cheese in the container of a food processor. Add the flour, salt, cayenne, and Worcestershire. Cover and blend thoroughly. If a food processor is not used, put the flour , salt and cayenne in a bowl. Add the butter, cheese, and Worcestershire, and using two knives or a pastry blender, blend thoroughly.
Use a cookie press outfitted with a hounds tooth or star dispenser. Push the dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet to make individual straws. Or, if desired, roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut it into individual strips, which can be twisted if desired, or other shapes. Arrange the pieces on 1 or 2 ungreased baking sheets.
Place the baking sheet or sheets in the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the straws are crisp and lightly browned. If you wish a darker color let them cook longer. Remove and let cool.
Makes about 6 dozen.

I do like the idea of not having to melt the butter first.

Of course, with my obsessions I might just have to troll the internet for the RIGHT recipe as it has been years since I looked.

A note:  the same column that had the coconut macaroons also included country fried steak and cream gravy…belgian waffles…pineapple tart


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