It's been nonstop around here and I don't remember the last time I had a full day in the kitchen. After an hour I realized I built myself a pretty good kitchen and stocked it with some pretty great stuff. I miss my pretty great stuff and I had a pretty great day, in my pretty great kitchen…… and some day I will get around to finishing this pretty great kitchen. Tomorrow…... as today I have cookies to bake.
This morning as I walked out the door to check the kiln, at zero dark thirty, a chill slapped me upside the head. Whoa, where did that come from? It's been in the 60's around here, not very conducive to cookie baking or any baking. I unloaded the kiln, reloaded the kiln and went back in the house, still dark. The wind picked up and the coffee poured hot. Commence flour flinging…… the Kitchen Aid was dancing today!
The plate of cookies at the end of the day.
Starting on the left; shortbread cookies. Moving up to the top: gingersnaps. Sitting pretty at 3 o'clock coconut dream bars. Holding the plate down at 6 o'clock: pecan carmel bars. And sitting in the middle; melt in your mouth strudel. I might add a lemon fluff bar because this is all sweet and buttery stuff. A bit of citrus is needed to cut the sugar….. or maybe bacon?
Carmel Pecan Bars
(these fly off the plate and freeze well but lock the freezer)
Crust: 1 cup of butter, 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar packed, 1 egg
Filling: 3 cups pecan halves, 1/2 cup honey, 3/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup whipping cream
To make the crust, combine all ingredients until blended, using an electric mixer or food processor. Press evenly into a 15 x 10 x 3/4" jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
To make filling, spread pecans evenly over crust. In a large heavy sauce pan, melt the butter and honey. Add the brown sugar. Boil 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until it's a rich caramel color. Remove from the heat, stir in the whipping cream. Mix well and pour over pecans. Bake 15 minutes longer. Cool; cut into bars. Freezes well. Makes 4 dozen.
Melt in Your Mouth Strudel
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 pound ground walnuts or pecans
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the flour, mix well. Shape into a ball, cover and chill 1-2 hours.
Cook sugar and milk in a sauce pan over medium heat until the milk boils and the sugar dissolves. Stir occasionally. Add the nuts. Remove from the heat and cool until spreadable.
Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface to form an 18x12" rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Spread each with nut filling. Starting from the long side, roll up each strip, jelly roll style.
Place seam side down, on ungreased cookie sheets. Cut into 1/2" thick slices without separating. Bake in a 350 degree oven 15-20 minutes or until done. Let cool slightly. Remove and cool on racks. Dust with powered sugar. Separate slices into cookies. Cover, refrigerate or freeze. Makes about 60 cookies.
Coconut Dream Bars
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups coconut
Combine flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and butter in the food processor or mixer, until particles are fine. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes.
Beat the 1 1/2 cups brown sugar with the eggs, just until blended. Mix in remaining ingredients. Spread over the partially baked crust. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. When cold, cut with a sharp knife. These are really sweet!
And since everybody has a good gingersnap and shortbread recipe I'm not going to post the recipes. The shortbread recipe I use is from Ina Garten and I like it the best of all the recipes I have tried over the years. Cheers Ina!
Figured out a while back that a good Christmas present is a pair of mugs and a plate of homemade cookies! So find a local potter and get baking!
I've inhaled enough flour dust today I'm gonna have a case of pastry lung!
You bet there will be cookies at the opening tomorrow night!