Cookies and Milk and Thanksgiving and Christmas

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

I believe in an earlier posting I may have alluded to the fact that even though I’m no longer in school (yeah, okay that’s the understatement of the year), I still think having cookies and milk when I get home is a great way to start the evening.  I love to dunk cookies in milk, and being the incredible cookie snob that I am, they of course have to be homemade. And I like my cookies sort of chewy and crispy all at the same time – unlike my husband who likes them hard as a rock.  I think this might be because his mom made an amazing slice and bake refrigerator cookie that was specifically formulated to be a dunker, e.g. a harder cookie.  So to make sure he gets cookies he likes, I always completely overcook two pans full just for him.  This is also kind of a defense mechanism, because if I don’t provide him with cookies that are too hard for normal folks to enjoy, he’ll simply leave the bag or the container open to ensure they get stale and hard as quickly as possible.

I will also now publicly admit to the fact that I will make cookies in anticipation of upcoming holidays and freeze them, in order to cut down on the amount of last minute baking. The reason I’ve hesitated to admit to this is because when I was growing up, my mom did the same thing.  And my brother and I pestered her unendingly and constantly while explaining to her that cookies were for eating, not freezing.  And we would raid the freezer anytime we could get away with it.  Actually, my dad, brother and I all raided the freezer without any guilt whenever we could.  I can remember my dad nonchalantly taking a spoon from the kitchen drawer, and then sort of innocently strolling downstairs to eat ice cream right out of the container.  My mom tried to help him with his diet because he had heart issues, so she was pretty aware of what was going on.  She had a sixth sense about when he was on a foray to the freezer, and if I had a nickel for everytime she’d yell down the stairs, “PHIL!!! Get out of that ice cream!”, I’d have at least $6.00. Plus I knew if I caught him at it he’d always offer to share as long as I didn’t tell mom.  We also used to search the house for the big candy holidays – Halloween and Easter, and I hate to brag, but we were pretty good. Between the three of us we could almost always suss out the hidden goodies.  And we were first class at looking innocent and blaming each other when the big day came and the larder was empty.  Somehow she always managed to come up with enough stuff anyway. Looking back, I think she probably hid decoys in several places to throw us off and kept a supply hidden somewhere. I’m guessing she buried it in the back yard.  She’s a cagey little thing.

Last week I realized that this weekend is October 1st. OCTOBER FIRST!  Okay, trying  not to panic. Eight short weeks until Thanksgiving and only four weeks later ’til Christmas.  This means that I need to get all my presents made and bought, plan two Thanksgiving and one Christmas dinner, all while working full time and trying to keep up with a blog!  Deep breath, I know I can do this.  My plan this year is to send a box of homemade goodies to the majority of the folks on my list.  But there are some others who are getting handmade gifts and I’m not close to finished. My dear friend Pam is coming over next weekend to learn to make candy, and that should spur me on a bit I think.  But in the meantime I can make and freeze cookies.

I started with a basic brown sugar cookie – a Cracked Brown Sugar Cookie to be precise.  This is a lip-smacking cookie and you really can’t eat just one.  They’re buttery and brown sugary sweet, soft and crispy, and perfect for dunking in milk.  Plus they freeze well and they’re easy to make.  I’m not sure where this recipe came from, but it was one of my aunts.  I’ve been making them for over 20 years and they don’t disappoint.  They aren’t fancy, but they are a perfect complement to other cookies and goodies on a holiday plate. A plus to these cookies is that they’re equally delicious with a big glass of homemade lemonade, so they’re a great summer cookie, too.

Ingredients are simple.  Brown sugar, white sugar (not shown because once again the orange canister looked like a glowing alien vessel – once I learn to do lighting correctly I’ll be able to fix that issue!) vanilla, eggs, butter, cream of tartar, baking soda and some salt (also not shown due to a minor brain fart).

Cream the butter and sugars together. Run the mixer for 3 or 4 minutes on a higher speed, and scrape down the sides a couple times.

Pretty!  Now add in the eggs and vanilla and beat it again until it looks like this.

Mix your dry ingredients together and dump ’em in the bowl.

Stir just until combined.  If you over beat the dough once you’ve added the flour, it’ll get tough.

Should look like this.  And it will smell heavenly!  Yes, it’s good dough, too. Try not to eat too much – they’re really good baked, too. At this point you can either start baking them or you can put the dough in the refrigerator for a bit.

When you’re ready to bake them, use a 1″ dough scoop (or hand roll them) and then roll them in granulated sugar. They’re going to spread out a little, so leave about 1″ between cookies.  Bake for between 9 and 10 minutes – until just barely starting to brown.  Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 30 seconds and then remove them to a rack to cool.  When they’re completely cool store in an airtight container.  To freeze, layer between sheets of clear plastic wrap in an airtight container.  They should freeze well for up to 2 months.

Yep, they’re good!  They’re the ones on the bottom. Tomorrow I’ll post the recipe for the ones on the top – also very yummy!

Cracked Brown Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (plus additional for rolling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour

Directions:

If you are going to bake the cookies immediately, preheat oven to 350°.

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.

Add vanilla and eggs, and beat for about 1 more minute.

Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together and add to butter/sugar mixture.  Stir just until combined.

Dough may be refrigerated for up to 2 days until ready to use; or may be baked immediately.

Roll or drop into 1″ balls.  Roll in granulated sugar and place on a heavy duty aluminum cookie sheet at least 1″ apart.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until beginning to brown.  They may not look quite done, but they’ll be fine.  Let them rest on the cookie sheet for about 30 seconds and then remove to cool on a wire rack.  When completely cooled, store in an  airtight container.  May be frozen up to 2 months if well-wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container.


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