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March 3, 2021

Cookie baking with the kids


Have you ever made cookies from scratch?

my 10-year-old asked last week. I guess she had heard the term
somewhere and wanted to know if I had tried it.
“Have you ever made cookies from scratch?” my 10-year-old asked last week. I guess she had heard the term somewhere and wanted to know if I had tried it. Of course, I said, explaining that we always started with nothing in the bowl, added a bunch of ingredients and mixed it to come up with the cookie dough.

“Oh, so that’s what it means,” she said. “The commercial said no one needed to do that anymore, since we can just get the cookies from the refrigerator section.”

What?!

I’m sure she would rather have skipped the lecture on how easy it is to make cookies, that there’s no tube cookie that can compare to homemade, and besides we can practice her reading while baking. But she listened semi-attentively to my rant, anyway.

I think it’s been too long since I asked her to make cookies with me. But recently I ran across the perfect excuse to do so. It’s ‘The C&H Squishy Cookie Cookbook’ from the famous sugar company and it’s filled with cookie recipes for kids.

I love the directions, which tell children to make cookies the “size of 2 gumballs” and squish the dough together with their fingers. The author makes measurements simple for young ones: instead of 1 1/2 tsp., she separates it into 1 tsp. and 1/2 tsp.

I also like the section on cleaning up, which says, “All good cooks clean up after they’re done! Put everything back in its place. By the time you’ve finished, the cookies will be cool enough to sample! So treat yourself to 1 or 2 or even 3!” Sounds like good advice to me.

•And now, let’s start with dessert: Make sure your child’s hands are clean, then give them this recipe. If they’re too little, you can measure for them and keep track of the ingredients. Let them do the mixing. This recipe is from ‘The C&H Squishy Cookie Cookbook.’

Peanut Butter Chews

1. Measure into a bowl:

1/2 cup flour

2 T. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix with your fingers and set to one side.

2. Measure into a large bowl:

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup sugar

1 T. sugar

3 T. golden brown sugar, packed

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup peanut butter

Squish with your fingers or mix with a big spoon until smooth.

3. Add the flour mixture. Squish with your fingers until the dough is soft and no flour is showing.

4. Chill in the refrigerator while greasing cookie sheet.

5. Grease cookie sheet lightly.

6. Make balls the size of 2 bubblegums. Put on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

7. With a fork lightly dipped in flour, press each ball both ways. 8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. They will be a nice golden color when done. Don’t overbake!

•One more: So you can give your little friends a choice or two, here’s a recipe that calls for plain M&M’s. You can also substitute chocolate chips if you prefer. Let these cool slightly before taking off of the baking pan, so they don’t break apart.

Mini Rounds

1. Measure 1/4 cup M&M’s into a small dish. Set aside.

2. Measure into a bowl:

1/2 cup flour

1 T. flour

1/4 cup baking soda

Mix with your fingers and set to one side.

3. Measure into a big bowl:

1/4 cup margarine or butter

1/4 cup golden brown sugar (packed)

2 T. sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

4. Add the flour mixture to the big bowl. Squish with your fingers or mix with a big spoon until soft and no flour is showing.

5. Mix in the M&M’s.

6. Drop by teaspoon onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Push dough off with a finger.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes.

•Sunday supper: This Sunday Supper will have your house smelling wonderful for hours. My friend Julie Morris found this recipe in Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly’s cookbook, “The Complete Meat Cookbook.” Julie calls it “comfort food at its best,” and she’s right. Make the herb rub in the morning and get it onto the meat. You’ll want to start cooking at about 3 p.m. It takes three hours to cook this meal, but you don’t have to do much. By the end, the onions are caramelized a beautiful sweet, dark brown, and the roast is still succulent. She suggests serving with potatoes, carrots, a salad and good red wine.

Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 T. fresh, chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 T. paprika

1 T. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

3-4 lb. chuck roast

2 T. olive oil

1 cup water or beef or chicken stock (more if needed)

3 large onions, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt , freshly ground pepper

Combine the herbs, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the meat thoroughly with the mixture. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature, or put in zip-lock bag in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven, heat, olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the roast on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove and set aside. Pour off any fat from the pan and deglaze the pan with water or stock, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Put the roast back in the pan, cover with sliced onions and garlic, cover and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the cover, turn roast over on top of onions, and continue to cook, uncovered, for another hour, adding more liquid if it becomes dry. Stir the onions around after half an hour so they brown evenly.

Replace the cover and continue to cook for 1 hour more, or until meat is fork tender. Remove the meat from the pot, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the sauce. (At this point, you may refrigerate the roast for later reheating. Refrigerate the cooking liquid separately. To serve, remove any congealed fat from the cooking liquid and use it to heat the meat gently.)

Strain and defat the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Cut the meat into thick slices or separate into chunks.

Editor’s note: arrange the meat slices in a large, flat pasta bowl, then spoon the onions and juices over. The onions are to die for.

• End notes: “When you are already walking on thin ice, you might as well dance.”

~ Anonymous

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