I remember helping my mom mix and shape cookies at Christmas, cracking Brazil nuts for her snowballs covered in powdered sugar. We loved the smell of baking cookies and waited until we could finally taste that first one.
My mother made four kinds of cookies during Christmas; ranger, snowballs, toll house, and peanut butter. This tradition became so ingrained in me that I continued this practice after I was married and with my own children.
The kinds of cookies most requested by everyone to this day are oatmeal chocolate chip and peanut butter. My gift the Matilda Ziegler writers and readers are these two cookie recipes–Chocolate Chip Cookies My Way and Easy Oatmeal Cookies. I have made changes to these recipes, using less sugar and adding more chocolate chips, using less vanilla, and using margarine instead of butter in the first recipe. I’ve also added cornmeal to the oatmeal cookie recipe, which has added to its appeal.
Enjoy, and happy holidays!
First recipe – Chocolate Chip Cookies My Way
Two sticks margarine (Land o’ lakes or imperial is best), 3/4 cups light brown sugar, 1/4 to one half cup white sugar, 2 large eggs, one half teaspoon vanilla, two and a half cups flour, a pinch of salt, one teaspoon baking soda, and 18 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips (Nestle is best).
In a large mixing bowl, soften margarine for 20 minutes. Beat on medium speed for two minutes, then add sugars, beat two minutes, and finally add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, about one and a half minutes. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in another bowl, stirring with a whisk or fork. Combine dry ingredients with batter; add alternately with chocolate chips, mixing on low speed until these remaining ingredients are used. Remove bowl and chill batter for one hour (this makes it easier to shape).
Grease cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil or silicone cookie mats with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a tablespoon to scoop and shape batter on cookie sheets. Before baking, flatten them a little. Bake at 325 degrees for 22 to 24 minutes. To promote even browning, switch cookie sheets half way through baking (the top sheet to the bottom rack and the bottom sheet to the top rack). Let cookies cool a few minutes and they should be easy to remove from the cookie sheet.
Next Recipe – Easy Oatmeal Cookies
Two sticks butter (no substitutions, it brings out the flavor), almost one cup white sugar, one cup flour, one half cup yellow cornmeal, one and one half cups old fashioned oats, and one teaspoon baking soda.
Soften butter in large mixing bowl for twenty minutes, add sugar and flour. Mix with hands until ingredients are blended. Add oatmeal, cornmeal, and baking soda and mix again until ingredients are incorporated. Chill for thirty minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape batter in to small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil or cookie mats. Flatten them before baking. Bake them for 15 minutes.
With these recipes, your family will come running and your cookies will disappear with everyone asking “When are you going to make them again?”
Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy 2011.
Note: the chocolate chip cookie recipe originated in Mrs. Field’s Cookies. It is titled “Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The book is available from NLS. The oatmeal cookie recipe was originally titled “Easy Colonial Oatmeal Cookies,” first printed in “A Leaf from Our Table” a Braille cookbook published in 1970 by the Chicago Catholic Guild, with recipes from blind women across America. It is out of print, but this recipe was reprinted in “Out Of Sight,” a cookbook sold by a Maryland chapter of the ACB.