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Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies

‘Thumbprint Cookies’—that’s official cookie jargon for cookies with directions that are a variation on, “Shape dough into balls; flatten slightly, and indent the center.  Fill with preserves.”  I’ve always had a particular weakness for them.  But I’ve also always noticed a particular weakness in them—there is never enough filling.  So, I long ago dispensed with the thumb approach and went to using a knuckle to hollow out those little centers to a more respectable capacity.

Knuckle cookies?  It doesn’t sound so nice and dainty as ‘Thumbprint’, does it? But that’s okay, because I’ve figured out what I’ve really been trying to achieve all this time, and there’s a term for it: ‘Tarts’.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate.  But only slightly.

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Black Walnut Bars

Back when my Other Half and I were just embarking on the long-distance relationship that would ultimately lead to us keeping all our cookbooks under one roof, he confessed a deep nostalgic fondness for the taste of black walnuts. He had told me about the black walnut tree that was by the driveway when he was growing up. And he had related how they used to shell the nuts by the expedient of first driving the car over them to remove the outer husk, then using a nutcracker on the hard inner shell—black walnuts are the proverbial tough nut to crack!

So when (during that first holiday season, which we spent 1500 miles apart) I decided to make and send him a package of Christmas cookies, I thought of black walnuts. After looking around at various recipes, I settled on a recipe for Pecan Bars in The Southern Living Cookbook (my old copy, about which, more here—the recipe in the new edition is somewhat different). I intended to merely substitute black walnuts for the pecans, but I ended up making another inadvertent substitution as well.

The original recipe called for dark corn syrup, and when I looked in my (somewhat neglected at that time) larder for ingredients, sure enough, there was a bottle of dark syrup that I took to be the thing. It was only after stirring the syrup in with the rest of the ingredients that I noticed (to my dismay) that what I’d just added wasn’t plain dark corn syrup at all. It was something called King Po-T-Rik, which, on examination of the ingredients, turned out to be predominately made up of molasses and dark corn syrup. Oh.

Whether I had originally acquired the bottle thinking that it was corn syrup, or molasses, history does not relate.

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Dried orange peels and Orange Shortbread Cookies

Well, it’s been a busy and citrus-filled week here at A Month of Sundries—from fruit to zest to juice, to the main event, the candied peels— but I’ve got one more little bonus trick to make further use of those orange peels that we zested.

Once zested, the peels are no longer suited to candying, but that doesn’t mean they need be thrown away. They can be dried out and used for all sorts of creative applications. I know, I know, all week I’ve been saying things like “The pith is bitter,” and “Avoid the pith,” and now here I am suggesting that you preserve it. Well, yes. And yes. Fresh pith can make your face try to turn itself inside out, but drying mellows it, and it can impart a unique orangey flavor that is different than you get from the zest. And dried peels can also make a fragrant material for use in various craft projects, if you’re so inclined.

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