25 June 2012

It's a Cookie Party!

I had a cookie party at my house yesterday.  Just a small one, since I only had time to make a couple of batches, but it was cookie party for the family nonetheless. 

raw cookies waiting for their other halves
My husband was the catalyst for the cookie party.  Most of the goodies I make for the blog get taken to work with me or to dinner with friends, so my husband doesn't get too much of a sugar overdose.  It turned out he was a little upset about my blog project because, even though I've been posting for less than two weeks, I haven't made cookies yet.  He made a very polite request for peanut butter cookies, and I set to work brainstorming ideas for a slightly out-of-the-box peanut butter cookie.

My husband was kind enough to point out that you can't get more southern than peanut butter and he's exactly right.  The peanut is native to the southern part of the United States and Mexico.  Peanuts have been ground up into some sort of peanut spread by Native Americans for hundreds of years.
other halves added and about to go in the oven
I ended up filling my peanut butter cookies with chunks of peanut butter cups, Roloand grape jelly.  They were quite the success with the exception that once they were baked you couldn't tell what filling was contained within each cookie. 
These were pretty darn easy to make.  You make the dough, roll it into a log, and throw it in the fridge.  I mixed up the dough on Saturday night and made the cookies Sunday morning.  Slice the dough, sick some filling on half the slices and throw the other half of the slices on top.  To seal the filling, you just smash the edges of each cookie with the tines of a fork.  It's super easy.  So easy, in fact, that my 5 year old helped out with the cookie construction.


completed cookies with Reese's filling and a glass of milk for dunking
I decided to make some lemon cookies, too.  I had some lemons left over from the lemon cobbler and needed to use them pretty soon.  When I started this blog lemon cookies were one of the first recipes on my list.  When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time at Riverfront Park here in Little Rock.  We had free concerts at the park almost every weekend in the summer.  There is also a cookie factory just on the other side of the river from the park.  The factory made lemon cookies every Saturday.  The smell of lemon cookies brings back all sorts of memories for me.  So, while lemon cookies might not be inherently southern, their smell reminds me of home.
crunchy, gooey lemon cookies
The lemon cookies they made at the factory were sandwich cookies, similar to Oreos, but lemon flavored.  I wanted to make a simpler lemon cookie with a strong lemon flavor, chewy middle, and crispy edges.  I wanted 'em that way because that's how I like my cookies.  The crispy outside with the soft and chewy middle is my perfect cookie combination.

These lemon cookies have all three things I was looking for.  I did make a mistake and put them too close together on the baking sheet, so I ended up with a sheet of lemon cookies that had to be cut apart, rather than the perfect circles they should have been.  Be sure to leave lots of room between cookies before you put them in the oven.

Now, go have a mini cookie party all your own!


Double Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 15 cookies

Print me, Please!!!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp milk
Filling of your choice i.e., peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, jelly

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Blend in the shortening and peanut butter until the mixture makes coarse crumbs.  Stir in the corn syrup and milk until well combined.  Put the batter on a sheet of wax paper and use the wax paper to help you form it into a 2" diameter log.  Twist the ends of the wax paper shut to enclose the dough and put it in the refigeratore for at least 2 hours. 
Once the dough is cool and firm, slice it into 1/4" thick rounds.  Place half the rounds on a grease baking sheet 2" apart.  Put a dab of filling onto each half.  Cover with the remaining slices.  Seal the edges of each cookie with the tines of a fork be pressing lightly all the way around the cookie.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.  Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Lemon Cookies
makes 24-30 cookies

Print me, Please!!!

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Cream together the shortening, sugar, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the shortening mixture until well combined.  Place by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet 2 1/2" apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.  Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


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