12/5/18 Cook’s Corner
Once upon a time I loved to make Christmas cookies. Back in the day you could always count on me to bring cookies to the multiple school events, church, clubs and other parties that our family of five attended. I was busy. I worked outside of the home, volunteered on multiple levels for youth and civic groups and still had energy to bake cookies at midnight. Ah, youth
That all changed when we semi-retired and moved to Oregon. Now that the kids were grown and lived a thousand miles away, I seldom made cookies by the dozen any more. In fact, that first year Chuck made all the cookies at our new business. We opened a bakery/donut shop and remodeled a house on six acres. We were busy and tired.
Still, I wanted to entertain the neighbors at Christmas. Thus began 20 years of a Christmas Cookie party event. All the neighbors were happy for a meet and greet and brought enough cookies to share and exchange. And that was the year I discovered a cookie short cut—Bar Cookies.
If you’re going to feed a crowd, cookies baked like cake and cut into squares are nothing short of magic. You don’t have to stop and agonize over perfecting every individual cookie. You just cut and serve. Voila!
I still make a couple of favorite, tedious cookie recipes: Russian Tea Cakes and a small batch of frosted sugar cookies are a must on the Kaiser menu. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a batch of Fantasy Fudge. Still, Bar Cookies are a lifesaver when entertaining at this busy time of year.
The following recipes are baked and taste tested by dear friends. Enjoy!
JEANNIE HAND’S CRANBERRY BARS
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries (8 ounces)
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350Æ F.
Butter a 9x13” Pyrex pan
Using an electric mixer on medium speed: beat sugar and eggs until slightly thickened (about 2 min.). Beat in melted butter and almond flavor. Stir in flour; add cranberries and nuts. Bake 30 min. or until toothpick tests clean.
LOUISE’S LEMON BARS
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly spray 9x13 Pyrex pan
CRUST: Combine 2 cups flour with ½ cup powdered sugar and mix well with butter. Pat into prepared pan and bake for 20 min. Remove from oven.
FILLING: In the meantime, combine eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, baking powder and 2 tablespoons flour. Mix until smooth. Pour filling over cooked layer. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar. If making the day before, you may have to repeat dusting.
Cut into squares and serve. Makes a lot!
JEANNIE JEWELL’S MACAROON COOKIE BARS
Heat oven to 350° F.
Grease 13” x9” pan
1 package Pillsbury Plus Devil’s Food Cake mix
½ cup margarine, softened
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut + extra for topping
1 cup pecans, chopped
CRUST: In large bowl combine cake mix and margarine. Blend at low speed until well combined and crumbly. Press evenly into bottom of greased pan.
TOPPING: In small bowl combine milk, vanilla and egg. Beat until smooth. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour mixture over crust. Sprinkle an additional ¼ cup coconut over top.
Bake 30-35 min. or until golden brown Cool completely. Cut into bars.
MICROWAVE FANTASY FUDGE
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
3 cups sugar
1 small can evaporated milk (2/3 cup) (not sweetened)
1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 small jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème
1 cup nuts, chopped (I use walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly grease a 13x9 inch Pyrex pan.
Microwave margarine in 4-quart bowl on HIGH for 1 minute or until melted.
Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave on 5 minutes or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 minutes. Continue to cook 2 more min.
Mix well; scrape bowl. Microwave 5 ½ min. more, stirring after 3 min.
Microwave on HIGH 5 1/2 minutes; stirring after 3 minutes as above
Gradually stir in chocolate chips until melted.
Add marshmallow, nuts and vanilla. Mix well and quickly pour into prepared pan. Let cool. To serve, cut into small squares. Makes a lot!
Keep it simple and keep it seasonal with Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner