Monday, December 5, 2016

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies: Holiday Retro Ad & Recipe

I just love Retro Ads with Recipes, and this one is especially fun for the holidays. Note the wreath in the window, and the Tagline: Land O Lakes Butter Pecan Turtles. The irresistibly good Holiday Cookie Made Easy.

Of course, being a Land O Lakes ad, it's all about butter! I love to bake with butter. These Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies are delicious. And, there are no calories! Right? One caveat, these are more bars than cookies, but they still taste great.

Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter, softened

Caramel Layer 
2/3 cups Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat Oven to 350°.
In 3 quart bowl combine crust ingredients. Mix at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl often, 2-3 minutes or until well mixed and particles are fine. Pat firmly into ungreased 13x9x2" pan.
Sprinkle pecans evenly over unbaked crust.
Prepare caramel layer
In heavy 1-quart saucepan combine brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until entire surface of mixture begins to boil. Boil 1/2 to 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Pour Caramel Layer evenly over pecans and crust.
Bake near center of 350° oven for 18-22 minutes, or until entire caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light golden brown.
Remove from oven.
Immediately sprinkle with chips. Allow chips to melt slightly (2-3 minutes). Slightly swirl chips as they melt; leave some whole for a marbled effect. Do not spread chips.
Cool completely; Cut into 3-4 dozen bars.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

National Cookie Day: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Every day should be Cookie Day, but it's always nice to be reminded with an 'official' Cookie Day Holiday! Today is National Cookie Day!

There are many types of cookies--Bar Cookies, Drop Cookies, Pressed Cookies, No-Bake Cookies, Molded Cookies, Rolled Cookies, Sandwich Cookies, Fried Cookies, but today I'm posting a recipe for one of my favorite type of Cookies: Refrigerator Cookies aka Icebox Cookies.

Refrigerator Cookies (icebox cookies) include a variety of cookie styles that require chilling. Very often, as in the case of the recipe below, the cookie dough is shaped into a log, so that when chilling is complete in the refrigerator, the dough is easily sliced and baked.

My most favorite Refrigerator Cookies are Pinwheel Cookies. My grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, and she was a terrific baker, so my mother didn't do a lot of baking. But my mother did make Pinwheel Cookies. I used to help her roll out the dough, and after it was cold, and the two doughs were put together, I got to cut them. How fun. So visual, too!

The following recipe for "Chocolate Pin Wheels" is from my copy of Baker's Famous Chocolate Recipes, 1936. I love vintage cookbooks and pamphlets. Note that cookie is spelled "cooky" in the cookbook!

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Pack and Ship Cookies for the Holidays

Yesterday I posted Tips for Making the Very Best Cookies. Continuing with the Cookie Theme, today I'm posting about packing and shipping cookies for the Holidays. If you're sending cookies to friends and family here and overseas (military), you'll want to get started. I've put together a few helpful hints, and I welcome any other tips that have worked for you. There are many ways to actually send them--USPS, FedEx, UPS.

So here are several tips on how to pack cookies to ship.

Start with the right type of cookie. That's key.

Cookies to avoid: Fragile, buttery cookies that could end up as crumbs .. although I like cookie crumbs. Cookies with jam or cream-filled centers. Cookies that will be smudged  or broken if stacked together.

Cookies to include: (Of course I'm linking to Chocolate Cookies): (Drop Cookies) Chocolate Chip or ( Bar Cookies)Biscotti, Gingersnaps, Sugar Cookies, Shortbread or Oatmeal.

Always Double-Box your cookies. You can use plastic containers or a a sturdy carton or box to hold cookie containers. Always add packing materials around the first container. More on that below.

Now for the actual cookie box. I'm partial to decorative tins. I pick them up at the flea market, garage sales and the White Elephant Sale. They're pretty and useful. However, you may want to use locking plastic containers which create a good seal every time. Alternatively, you can use a shoebox or a coffee can. Either must be clean and 'scent' free.

Be sure and line the container with parchment paper or crumpled wax paper.

I probably don't need to remind you, but you should wrap different types of cookies separately, so the flavors and textures don't 'leak'. Crisp cookies get soggy next to soft ones. You can use plastic wrap between layers--and over the top.

Even better is to cushion each cookie. Wrap them in pairs or individually in plastic wrap or small plastic bags. Then put them in ziploc bags. Stack them in your container vertically or horizontally, packing tightly to avoid them moving, but not too tightly that you crush them.

Here's a great tip to keep your cookies fresh and moist. Add some marshmallows to the tin--loosely not in plastic.

If you're not using plastic sealed boxes, put plastic wrap over the top of the box before you close the lid, letting it drape over, to create an airtight seal. If you're using a tin, tape around the lid to add to the seal.

Before putting your container of cookies in the shipping box, put packing materials around for cushioning. Use a heavyweight cardboard shipping box, if you can. Bubble wrap or crumpled newspaper or foam peanuts  are great for cushioning. Write fragile and perishable on all sides of the box.

Send overnight if you can, so they don't end up sitting in a warehouse. If not, be sure and mail early in the week, so they don't end up in the warehouse.

What cookies are you sending? Any packing and shipping tips to add?