Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Resurrection Cookies

It may seem pretentious to name a cookie for the resurrection, but I stand in a long tradition of symbolic foods, such as colored eggs and pretzels.
In these lemon-chocolate cookies, the dark of the chocolate is supposed to represent the black period during which Christ was dead, and the sunny gold and white of the rest of the cookie is the joy of His resurrection.
I got lazy and didn’t wait for the chocolate to become completely liquid before I dipped the cookies. If you have more patience, perhaps you can create a cookie of which exactly half is bathed in a smooth layer of dark chocolate.
You can experiment with variations, such as separating the diamonds before baking (this will probably reduce baking time) and cutting other shapes.

2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
zest of one lemon
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
¼ bag semisweet chocolate chips
about 9 – 12 teaspoons powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
about 4 – 5 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
In a mixing bowl combine flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. Divide in two.
On an ungreased cookie sheet, pat or roll half the dough to ½ inch thick. Cut into diamond shapes by making parallel horizontal cuts, then parallel diagonal cuts. On the edges you will have some triangle shapes. Do not attempt to pull the diamonds apart; leave them together. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough on a second cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until the center is set and the edges are just faintly starting to brown. Remove from the oven; cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet; then re-cut the diamonds along the grooves. Carefully pry apart and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The tips of the diamonds will tend to crumble.
While the cookies are cooling, slowly melt the chocolate chips over low heat in a saucepan. When the chocolate has reached the desired consistency, dip the cookies into it one at a time. I found that dipping one side of the cookie, with a swiping motion, was better than trying to dip it so that one corner of the diamond was completely covered, because the point would tend to fall off in the chocolate. If you come up with a trick for this, let me know!
After dipping, place the cookies on a plate with waxed paper and let them chill in the fridge while you dip the next batch.
When all the cookies are chilling, make the lemon frosting. I did this by putting 3 t powdered sugar in a little bowl, then adding lemon juice ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon at a time until I got the desired consistency. Then I drizzled it over the cookies, one batch at a time, making more lemon frosting as needed.
Return the cookies to the fridge until it is time to serve them. After that, store them at room temperature in a sealed container. They won’t last long. This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

P.S. As of Easter 2010, I am FINALLY starting to figure out that the chocolate needs a little parafin in it to make it go on as smoothly as I'd envisioned. I will experiement and post an update when I've confirmed that this is the thing needed ...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Animal Print Eggs

Boil the eggs for 20 minutes, cool in ice water, dry. Draw on the animal print with a black crayon (except be sure you have a model to look at so that your leopard print looks better than mine!). Soak in yellow or orange egg dye until the desired shade is reached. Drain; allow to dry.

Pretty Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a cold snap for a few days here, so I had to bake! These cookies are based on Better Homes & Garden’s “Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds,” but with quite a few tweaks to make them healthier. You cannot taste the peanut butter in the final product, they just taste like oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies.

¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
½ cup apple juice
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup carob chips or semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit, I believe that’s 190 Celsius.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter or margarine and peanut butter till combined. (In the tropics, the butter and peanut butter will soften so much that you can do this by hand with a potato masher, aided by a rubber scraper to clear the masher occasionally.) Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Beat in the eggs and apple juice till combined. If mixing by hand, beat the eggs separately with a whisk first. At this point the mixture will be very wet, but don’t worry; it will stiffen up as you beat or stir in the flour and wheat germ.
Finally, stir in the rolled oats and the carob or chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. You may find it helpful to chill the dough first so that it’s not so sticky. Bake at 375 about 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 30 to 40 cookies.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mulligatawny Soup

I can’t believe I’ve never tried to make this before. It would have been perfect for our lifestyle in Indonesia, because all the ingredients are easy to find in our town there. It remains a quick, healthy, tasty soup for anyone. I got this recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, where it is called Easy Mulligatawny Soup. I substituted sausage for their 1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey. I also changed the amounts of various vegetables slightly to make them easier to remember. (I also left out the rice when I made it, because I didn’t know how long the soup would need to simmer before serving, and was planning to serve corn bread on the side.)

2 ½ cups chicken broth (or 2 ½ cups water plus two bouillon cubes)
1 chopped apple
2 chopped carrots
1 7 ½ -ounce can tomatoes, cut up, or three Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 cup rice
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup raisins
1 T (tablespoon) snipped fresh parsley
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
1 t lemon or lime juice
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 t ground mace or nutmeg
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey,
OR a Polish sausage or four hot-dog style sausages

In a large saucepan combine chicken broth, apple, carrots, undrained tomatoes, celery, uncooked rice, onion, raisins, parsley, curry powder, lemon juice, pepper, mace or nutmeg, and 1 cup additional cup water. Bring to the boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Meanwhile, if using sausage, bias-cut the sausage into pieces about ¼ inch thick, place in a frying pan, and brown on all sides.
If using cooked chicken or turkey, add the meat when the rice is done, heat through, and serve.
If using sausage, reheat the sausage in the pan, add to the soup and serve immediately. Remember not to add the sausage until the last minute or it will become less appetizing. Also, if using rice, do not let the rice sit in the soup a long time after it is done, as it will continue to absorb the broth.

Serves 4.