Friday, December 27, 2013

Sugar Cookies with grated orange!

The first time I made these sugar cookies, I was in my teens and being a teen, decided not to follow the recipe. It was the grated orange rind that confounded me. It didn't sound very appetizing, so I omitted the rind and the orange juice. At the time, I didn't understand that baking is more of a science. That if something is left out, then something else similar needs to go in its place.  The cookies turned out hard as rocks and would have broken my teeth,  had they not been fortified with Mr. Lindberg's raw milk from his small farm across the street.

This is my mother's recipe, I don't know where she got it, but needless to say, I follow it to the letter, with one exception, I use butter instead of shortening. But that is okay, because it is replacing one like thing for another. Years ago after moving to Texas, I wanted to make these cookies. I asked Mom to send me the recipe. Here it is, hand written and perfect.

These cookies have great flavor. They are moist and easy to roll out.

Mom's handwritten recipe. Thanks Mom.
2/3 cup shortening (I use unsalted butter, allow butter to sit out for a while)
1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
grated one 1 orange rind
1 tablespoon orange juice (squeezed from the zested orange)

Cream shortening (butter), sugar and egg together. Shift flour, salt, baking powder and add to the first mixture add orange rind and juice and make into a smooth ball. It should be just a little tacky to the touch. Chill in the fridge for an hour or longer.
When your dough is chilled, take it out of the fridge. Roll it out on a flat floured surface. Select a cookie cutter or several. Punch out the cookies. Put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in moderate preheated oven at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. When you see the cookies getting golden at the edge, it is time to take them out. (the card says 60 cookies, I made about 25. So much depends on the size of the cookies. The ones in the picture are about 3 inches across.)

These cookies do not change color on the top, but the edges will get golden. This is the underside of how they look.

Butter cream frosting works just fine. The good news about the cookies, they can be eaten with our without frosting, but they are fun to frost and decorate to your hearts content. They are also fun to make for Valentine's Day.

Quote of the day:
“Cookies were much better eaten then sold, and they were best homemade.” 
― Jesse HaubertWe Found a Horse and Other Stories

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What do Bacon, Dark Chocolate and Macadamian Nuts have in common...

they all taste good all by themselves, but put them all together and they are off the charts good.
My neighbor Mary Michael found this recipe in Diane Sanfillipo's New York Times bestseller "Practical Paleo".  Here is the recipe and Mary Michael's notes.

1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted nuts-- chopped into small pieces, if larger nuts (recipe calls    for hazelnuts. I used macadamia nuts and thought it was a great choice).
4 pieces crisp bacon -- crumbled into small pieces
1 tsp. bacon grease
1/2 tsp. sea salt (smoked sea salt is called for, but I didn't have that)

You can melt chocolate in a double-boiler, but I didn't have one, so I used the microwave, which is also suggested. Put about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of chips in a microwave-safe bowl with the 1 tsp bacon grease. Coat the chips, and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir to break down the chips, and then add increments of chips, about 1/8 to 1/4 cup at a time, microwaving for 10 to 15 seconds between each addition of chips, so that you can melt the chocolate without burning it. I stirred between each microwaving.

When chocolate is melted, pour mixture on parchment paper on a baking sheet. You want it thin, but not like paper. 

Recipe says to add nuts and chopped bacon when mixture has somewhat cooled. I personally found it better to add bacon, nuts, and salt while the chocolate was still hot, so that the bacon/nuts would be firmly in place and wouldn't fall off. 

Put it fridge and let cool (30 minutes?), and then break into pieces. I found one of these broke into enough pieces (12-14?)  to make enough "goodie" bags for 2-3 people, depending on how much you want to give to each person. 

My macadamia nuts came in halves, so  I cut the halves into thirds, so they'd be smaller. Then I toasted them for about 7 minutes on 350 -- just until they were a nice, warm brown."  Mary Michael

This is good chocolate. I love the flavor combination. Thank you Mary Michael for making it and sharing it with your neighbors. Glad I live next door. 

Quote of the Day:

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
Linda Grayson