Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Back of the Box

(totally gratuitous kitty picture from the LOLCats).

It’s hardly an industry secret that food conglomerates hire people to develop recipes using their products, which recipes are then usually printed somewhere on the packaging. Some are pretty awful (for example, almost anything made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup) but some are quite good. Three of my favorite cookie recipes fall into this category.

Tollhouse Cookies

Actually, Mrs. Ruth Wakefield, who owned a New England hotel called the Toll House Inn, created these cookies during the Depression. She made her chocolate chips the old-fashioned way, by chopping a block of chocolate into pieces, but was happy to sell her recipe to the Nestlé people. The spousal unit loves these cookies and makes them often. He adheres strictly to the recipe on the Nestlé Milk Chocolate Morsels package except he leaves out the nuts (for some reason a few years ago Nestlé took the milk out of the recipe. SU leaves it in. I think it just makes the dough a little easier to handle).

2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
¾ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. packed brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 T. milk
1 ¾ cups (one package) of chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and sugars and then add the milk, vanilla, and eggs, one at a time. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips, and the nuts if you are using them. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets and bake 9 to 11 minutes or until they are golden brown. These will spread out a bit during baking so don’t put them too close together.

Oatmeal Cookies

I am a chocolaholic but prefer these to Tollhouse cookies. I use the recipe under the lid on the Quaker Oats box, to which I add nutmeg and cloves, and the milk because three cups of oatmeal makes a very stiff dough. You can skip the milk; in fact, it does produce extremely tender cookies and they’ll break as you’re taking them off the baking sheet if you aren’t careful. Walnuts and dried fruit (such as Craisins) are tasty additions, and this can be made into a bar cookie by spreading the dough in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan and baking it for about 30 minutes. Some people put in coconut, chocolate chips, Reese’s pieces, etc.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
¼ c milk (optional)
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. ground cloves
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. salt
3 c. uncooked Quaker Oats oatmeal
1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars. Beat the eggs lightly with the milk and vanilla. Stir together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the flour and the egg/milk mixture alternately, beating well. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. These cookies flatten and spread out as they bake, particularly if you add milk. Makes about 5 dozen.

Lemon Bars

This recipe used to be on boxes of Domino powdered sugar here in the US (icing sugar in Canada and the UK). It’s almost a lemon meringue pie in cookie form and impossible to eat without getting sugar all over your shirt-front. I love these cookies and if they are out on the dessert buffet at church suppers they’re the first ones I look for. Don’t use bottled lemon juice unless you really truly have no source of fresh lemons. That stuff is nasty.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ c powdered sugar, unsifted
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour, unsifted
2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 t. baking powder
About 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cookie crust: Cream the butter and the ½ cup powdered sugar until fluffy. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until blended. Spread evenly over the bottom of a well-greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool.

Custard layer: Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until thick. Add the lemon juice, remaining ½ c. flour, and baking powder and beat until thoroughly blended. Pour the lemon/egg mixture over the baked crust and return to oven; bake 25-30 minutes until golden and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with about 2 more tablespoons of powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely and cut into small squares.


TattingChic said...

LOL! I love the kittycat pictures you post! Love 'em! Love 'em! Love 'em!!!

Lidian said...

Aw, such a cute LOLcat! That's my kind of cookie for sure, always allowed!

And I love Ruth Wakefield. I have my grandmother's Ruth Wakefield cookbook, and treasure it.

Shay said...

Lidian, when I was stationed in CA, the base library had a copy of the Toll House Cookbook. It's one that I keep an eye out for when I'm trolling thrift shops.

Anonymous said...

I too love the Toll House cookie recipe.. it's the only one I use even if I'm using off brand chips.. the other recipes are only a tad bit different but you sure can tell the difference when you eat them.