Date-Nut Hermit Cookies

October 26, 2007

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These are called ‘hermits’ because the date-nut filling hides in a little cave of cookie dough like a hermit in the rocks. Emily’s family has been making them since time immemorial. Taste one, and you’ll see why. SAM

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

Date-Nut Filling
1 pound pitted dates
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cognac
1/2 cup chopped pecans

With an electric mixer, thoroughly cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and add to the shortening mixture alternately with enough ice water to form a medium stiff dough. Form the dough into a cylinder 1 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours.

While the dough is chilling, make the Date-Nut Filling. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates, sugar, water, and cognac. Cook, stirring frequently, until smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and add the pecans. Cool.

To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the dough into 1/4-inch rounds and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling on each slice and top with a second slice of dough. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 5 dozen cookies.

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Coconut Macaroons

October 25, 2007

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Need a quick-and-easy treat for a drop-in guest? You can stir these together while you chat. SAM

1 (14-ounce) package grated coconut
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, milk, and vanilla, mixing well. Drop by teaspoonfuls 1 inch apart onto well-greased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove immediately from baking sheets, using a moistened spatula. Cool on a wire rack.

For variation, add 1 of the following before baking:
4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup chocolate or butterscotch morsels
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Makes 5 dozen cookies.


Sugar Cookie Hearts

October 23, 2007

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A sweet heart for your sweetheart … You’ll want to bookmark this one for Valentine’s Day. SAM

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks or 16 tablespoons)
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. With an electric mixer on medium high, cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix until a dough ball forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Rocky Road Fudge

October 22, 2007

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Emily’s blog friend almostgotit has been saying for months that we needed a Rocky Road recipe. Here’s hers. It’s technically fudge, not a cookie. But it’s a great way to launch Cookie Week on the ROL! SAM

1 (12-ounce) bag chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened, condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 (10.5-ounce) bag mini marshmallows

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with tinfoil, letting ends extend 2 inches above the ends of pan. In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and butter, stirring to blend. Add the peanuts and marshmallows. Spread in the pan and refrigerate until firm. Lift the foil by the ends onto a cutting board and cut the fudge into 1-inch squares. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container.
Makes about 9 dozen squares.