Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day 12, 2014: Bear on the Mountain Cookies

My name is Hannah. I am part of the Bridgetown Regional High School Options and Opportunities program.  For this program I am doing a 100 hour placement at the Annapolis Royal Library Branch and really enjoying it. I have made Bear on the Mountain cookies from the Cookies for Christmas cookbook.  I choose these cookies because they are fun and give you a bubbly feeling whenever you see them. They are fun to do with kids so I can use them for a cooking program I am hoping to do through my 4-H club.
 Bear-on-the-mountain cookies

(makes 54)
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup unsweetened coca powder
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
54 milk cholate kisses
½ cup canned vanilla frosting
54+ chewy fruit bear snacks

1.     In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat or stir in cocoa powder and flour.
2.     Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls of dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3.     Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 9 minutes or until edges are firm. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
4.     When cookies are cool, spoon frosting into a heavy self-sealing plastic bag. Using scissors, snip the tip off one corner of the bag. Pipe a small amount of frosting onto the top of each kiss. Stand a bear atop each cookie. Makes about 54 cookies.
Hannah’s notes: I found using a fork instead of a wooden spoon was a lot easier. If you are still having trouble, try mixing by hand.
While I was making these the song Waltzing with Bears kept running through my head. I couldn’t resist making this cookie!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Day 11, 2014: Painted Cookies

Painted Cookies from the book Christmas Cooking  by Rebecca Gilpin. 

Made in the Soloy Family Test Kitchen by Griffin (age 5) and Holly (age 3) with limited adult supervision.

We chose this recipe mainly for the fun factor. The kids help out in the kitchen quite a bit. They also fit in a lot of painting, colouring, and/or crafting in any given day. But PAINTING COOKIES? That you EAT? “Dad! That’s silly!” said my daughter. 

I knew that we had found our cookie.

To make about 15 cookies you will need:
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup soft margarine (we used butter)
the yolk from a large egg
vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups flour
plastic foodwrap
big cookies cutters
greased cookie sheet
To decorate the cookies:
an egg yolk
food dyes

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Sift the powdered sugar through a sieve into a large bowl. Add the margarine. Mix well until they are smooth.
2. Add the large egg yolk and stir it in well. Then, add a few drops of vanilla extract. Stir the vanilla into the mixture.
3. Hold a sieve over the bowl and pour the flour into it. Sift the flour through the sieve, to remove any lumps.
4. Mix in the flour until you get a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic foodwrap and put it in the freezer.
5. Put the egg yolk into a bowl and beat it with a fork. Put it into saucers. Mix a few drops of food dye into each one.
6. Take the dough out of the freezer. Roll out half of it onto a floury work surface, until it is as thin as your little finger.
7. Press out shapes with cutters. Use a spatula to lift them onto a cookie sheet. Roll out the rest of the dough.
8. Cut out more shapes. Use a clean paintbrush to paint shapes on the cookies with the egg and dye mixture.
9. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove them from the oven. Let them cool a little, then lift them onto a wire rack.

*Baking supervisor’s notes: (Our baking supervisor is Jai, who works in Outreach Services)

I premeasured all of the ingredients and let the kids combine it all. For an extra thrill, I let my three year old add the few drops of vanilla. We got quite a bit less than a quarter of the bottle, so that was good. I had both a sieve and a sifter on the counter, but the team was in a hurry to get to the painting part so it all went in unsifted. After a solid “everybody gets a turn” of mixing, I found the dough to be fairly lump-free. We also skipped the whole freezer part. Our kitchen is pretty cold this time of year. If we make “Summer Painted Cookies”, I might add this step back in. I also opted for new paint brushes over the suggested “clean paint brushes”. Everything else, we followed word for word.

At our house, if a cookie gets decorated, it usually gets some kind of candy glued to it with icing. That’s if the candy survives waiting for the cookies to cool. The beauty of painting the cookies with coloured egg yolk  is that you paint them and they’re straight in the oven.  There are less sticky faced, jittery junior bakers over-sampling future gingerbread man buttons and more kids washing dishes while the cookies are baking. Right?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Waiting for Cookies

We know it is hard to wait for cookies. So does Cookie Monster. Here's a little something to watch while you wait for the last two entries in this year's 12 Days of Cookies. And while you wait, why not SHOW US YOUR COOKIES!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Day 10, 2014: Gingersnaps

  Gingersnaps - baked by Sue Aldred at our Middleton branch. Sue will be sharing her cookies at the library today!

½ cup white sugar                                                              
 3 ½ - 4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup molasses                                                                       
 1 teaspoon salt
½ cup hot, melted shortening                                            
 2 teaspoons ginger
½ cup clear, hot tea                                                              
½ teaspoon cloves
  1 teaspoon baking soda

Put sugar and molasses into a mixing bowl. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot tea and add, together with the shortening, to sugar mixture. Let stand until lukewarm, then add the dry ingredients. Chill dough overnight, or at least 2 hours, before rolling out. This chilling improves the flavour and makes the dough easier to handle. The dough should be rolled thin (about 1/8”) and more flour may be added, if necessary for easier handling. Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes.

Sue's note: Children could help to add ingredients, cut out and decorate but the dough is a little tricky to roll out and transfer to the cookie sheet.

Don't forget-- you too can ENTER to win a gift card. Show us YOUR cookies! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Day 9, 2014: Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Baked by Charlotte, who works at Headquarters. These yummy treats are from the book,  Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking. 

The combination of raspberries and chocolate gives each bite of these cookies an elegant feel.  Serve them for special occasions or “just because". 

1 cup butter, softened                                 

3/4 cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
½ cut fresh raspberries, pureed (I used frozen)
3 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in melted chocolate and raspberries.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Stir in white chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. Apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

My tip: I use a small scoop for most of my cookies, including these.  It is just too easy.  Also parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.  Enjoy.

Charlotte – Head of Systems and Administration

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Day 8, 2014: Potato Chip Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Potato chip toffee chocolate chip cookies, baked by Angela Reynolds, Head of Youth Services
From the eBook, Sally’s Baking Addiction by Sally McKenney 
Prep time: 15 minutes  - total time: 2 hours 50 minutes*

2 ¼ c all purpose flour                                  

1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted
¾ c. light brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
¾ c. crushed potato chips
½ c. crushed Skor bar (2 regular size bars)

1)      Whisk the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
2)      In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until no sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the egg & egg yolk, then vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in chocolate chips, potato chips, and toffee pieces. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days).
3)      Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to soften slightly at room temperature (about 10 minutes).
4)      Preheat oven to 325. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
5)      Roll the dough into balls, about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. (NOTE: I made smaller cookies, using about 1 Tbsp. for each). If dough is crumbly, the warmth of your hands will help it come together in a ball.
6)      Bake each batch for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet slightly before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days. 

You can make the dough balls and freeze them – bake whenever you want cookies! To bake, place on cookie sheet and add an extra minute to baking time. 

Angela’s notes: I made the dough in the evening, and then baked the cookies after work the next day. Easy! Also, this is an eBook. I have a great tip for baking with your tablet on the counter: put your tablet in a clean, clear ziplock bag. You can still use the tablet, and you won’t get sticky fingerprints on your screen !