Quick & Easy|
By Beverly Barbour
Autumn is when cookies fall into cookie jars
When the leaves start to fall the cookie jar calls, "Fill me up, I've been empty too long." We love popping cookies in our mouths year round but we don't like heating the oven in the summer, especially not when sunshine calls and so does the garden work.
Now is the time to fire up the oven and give some new cookie recipes a chance to strut their stuff. The kids will be thrilled; so will Dad and anyone else who crosses the threshold while the house is perfumed with the sweet smell of baking.
Don't feel that you don't need the calories or the temptation. Freeze the bulk of the batch and just reach in the freezer when a dessert or a sugar fix is needed. Or, if your kids are like some I know, hide the cookies, bury them, disguise them in the freezer so that you will have a sweet treat on hand when company comes.
Incredibly Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
The kids can bake their own when they come home from school. Makes about 5 dozen.
1 package (18+ ounces) yellow cake mix
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cake mix, peanut butter, oil, the water and eggs; mix well. Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten with a fork. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on racks.
Rustic Raisin Biscotti
A twice-baked Italian cookie with a delightfully crunchy texture. Biscotti are crisp and dry because they were originally made to be dipped into a glass of wine before eating. This recipe is great with a cup of coffee, tea, glass of milk or to nibble on while you're working on the computer. You can enjoy the biscotti plain or glorify it a bit by dipping one end of each cooled cookie into melted chocolate. Makes 4 dozen.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheets. Beat butter, sugar and 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (reserve the 1 egg white) until light and fluffy. Stir in combined anise seeds, lemon and orange zest. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually beat into butter mixture; mixing well. Stir in raisins and almonds. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 12- by 2 1/2- by 3/4-inch roll. Place rolls on greased cookie sheet, allowing space between for dough to spread. Press tops of rolls to flatten slightly. Lightly beat the remaining egg white; brush over rolls. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool 15 minutes on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F. With a sharp knife, cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place slices, cut side down, on cookie sheet. Return to oven and bake another 10 to 12 minutes, until almost dry. Cool on wire racks.
Dipping Chocolate: Heat chocolate chips and vegetable oil in microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir until chips are melted. Dip cookies into chocolate halfway up. Set on waxed paper to cool or refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Cornmeal Fennel Cookies
Cornmeal gives these tender cookies a pleasant texture and a slightly nutty taste. Lightly grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. You can stir up the cookie dough when you have a spare minute, refrigerate and later bake cookies when you have the oven heated for a meal. If you want a little glitz, sprinkle them with sparkling white sugar before baking. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add fennel seeds and salt. Add egg and beat to combine. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Add this mixture to the butter mixture in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Shape the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Baking: Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut off small bits of dough and roll into balls about 1 1/2-inches wide. Arrange on parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a water glass in water to prevent sticking and gently flatten each cookie. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Cool on racks.
Super Easy Lemon Bars
If you want to impress cookie lovers cut a decorative stencil from parchment paper. Just before serving arrange the stencil over the surface of the lemon bars and sprinkle powdered sugar over the stencil. Remove the paper and the pattern stays on the panful of bars. Makes 36 small bar cookies.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending paper up to edges of pan.
Crust: Combine crust ingredients in large bowl and beat at low speed, scraping bowl often until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture evenly over bottom of pan. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Filling: Grate peel from lemons before squeezing juice. Combine ingredients and beat, scraping bowl often, until well-blended; pour mixture evenly over the warm baked crust. Return to oven and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes longer or until filling is set. (Edges of the bars may be lightly browned.)
Cool completely. Use edges of parchment paper lining to lift bars from pan to a cutting board. Carefully pull back edges of parchment paper for easy cutting. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before cutting into bars.
Serve any dessert you like, people always have room for a cookie as well.