Tag Archives: cookies

Training Cookies

I was chatting with my step-mom last week when she reminded me of a memory that made me smile:  the year I got my training cookies.

If you’re scratching your head right now, I don’t blame you.  Most people would agree that a bit of training is helpful before tackling some of the more complex foods, but everyone knows how to eat cookies.

Unless they’re me.

I can dismantle and gobble down a steamed lobster in record time.  Sushi?  No problem; I can handle chopsticks, and I’m such a food-geek that I actually know obscure sushi etiquette like never mixing the wasabi into the soya sauce and always eating nigiri so the fish contacts your tongue first.

But cookies?  Well… apparently they’re trickier.

It all started years ago when my dad and step-mom came to visit me in Calgary, bringing my step-mom’s famous ginger-molasses cookies.

We had been driving around enjoying the sights on a nice spring day, and we stopped at a convenience store to get some cold drinks.  Parked comfortably in the shade, we were sitting in the car with the windows open while enjoying our refreshments and some of the fateful cookies.  As usual, I was talking volubly with my hands.  I was also holding a cookie at the time.

I made one particularly emphatic gesture and the cookie flew out of my hand, out the open window to land with a plop on the asphalt beside the car.

Mouth gaping, eyes wide, I sat there in shocked silence.

I had wasted a cookie!  For a food-worshipper like me, it was sacrilege!  Worse, I had wasted a delicious cookie that had travelled 800 miles just to tickle my tastebuds!

The silence lasted only a second or two before my companions burst into uproarious laughter.  And sure enough, when next Christmas rolled around, guess what I found under the tree?

Remember the children’s mittens that were joined together with a cord that went up one sleeve, around the neck and down the other sleeve so the mittens never parted company with the jacket?  (And theoretically, with the child?)

Yep, I’d gotten training cookies:  Two tender and tasty ginger-molasses cookies, each with a neat hole in the middle.  A festive ribbon joined the two cookies at exactly the length required to fit around my neck while holding a cookie in each hand.

Ever since then, that recipe has been known as “Training Cookies” in our household.  The cookies themselves are yummy, but the memory is sweeter than any baked goods could ever be.

I’m probably the only person in the world who needs training cookies, but if you’re in the market for a chewy and delicious ginger-molasses cookie recipe, here it is:

Training Cookies

¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 tablespoons dark molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the egg and molasses and beat.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Roll into balls, dip in sugar, and flatten with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees approximately 10 – 12 minutes until just beginning to brown at the edges.  Happy memories can be baked in, or added later!

Anybody else have a family recipe with special memories?

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Virtual Cookie Exchange

cookie exchange

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you… cookies!  And fudge!  And snackables!

My blogging buddy Linda Grimes invited me to participate in a virtual cookie exchange, and being the foodie I am, I couldn’t resist.  I promised her my simplest no-cook 3-ingredient fudge and a couple of other super-quick recipes that make you look like a holiday hero for making goodies from scratch.

Author Linda Poitevin is hosting this festival of yumminess.  Here’s a  list of all the recipes so far, and she’ll be posting another update today and again next week.

Here you go – happy snacking!

Simple Chocolate* Fudge

1 – 300ml can of sweetened condensed milk (about 1-1/4 cups – it doesn’t have to be perfect)

2-1/4 cups chocolate* chips

3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:  Melt everything together, stir well, and pour into greased 9×9 pan.  Chill.  Eat.

(Note:  If you’re using the microwave, only nuke in short bursts until the milk gets hot and then stir until the chips melt.  If you over-nuke it the chocolate chips turn to cardboard instead of melting.)

*Tip for holiday heroes:  You can make this into any kind of fudge you want – just use a different kind of chips.  White chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch, whatever.  If you want to be fancy, throw in some chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, dried cranberries, chopped-up candy bars, or whatever else moves you. If you want to go all Martha Stewart and give homemade fudge as a gift, make a double batch and chill it in a parchment-lined loaf pan, then slice it into slabs the way the fudge shops do.

Simple Peanut Butter Fudge*

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Instructions:  Melt the first 3 ingredients together, stir in the icing sugar, and press into greased 9×9 pan.  Chill.  Eat.

*Tip for holiday heroes:  Make the peanut butter fudge first, then make a batch of chocolate fudge and spread it over top.  Choco-peanut-butter fudge, hello.  This almost fills the 9×9 pan, so if you like your fudge a little thinner, put it in a 9×13 pan instead.

Ranch Crispix Snack*

1 box Crispix cereal

1 box mini-Ritz crackers

1 bag cheddar Fishie crackers

1 bag pretzel twists

1-1/2 cups roasted almonds/pecans/macadamias, whatever

1/3 cup canola/sunflower/corn oil

2 envelopes Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing mix

2 or 3 tablespoons dried dill

Instructions: Throw everything in a paper bag* and shake well.  Pour out.  Eat.

*This recipe might sound kinda gross to those who don’t like ranch flavour, but it’s irresistible if you like tangy, crunchy, salty snacks. And you can shake it up in anything you have handy – a turkey roaster or covered pail or whatever.

And now…

Since this is actually supposed to be a cookie exchange, here are my favourite molasses spice cookies.  They do require baking so they’re not quite as fast and simple as the first three recipes, but they’re soooo worth it!

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

4 tablespoons dark molasses

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Instructions: Mix the first 4 ingredients together, then add the rest and mix well.  Roll into teaspoon-sized balls*, dunk in sugar, and place on a greased baking sheet.  Flatten with a fork* and bake at 350 degrees approximately 12 – 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

*Note to Linda Grimes – I know this one has more ingredients than you want to deal with, but you gotta give me credit – continuing in your fine tradition, I said “balls” and “fork”.

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